The Cougars softball team finished 15 and 27 a year ago, fourth worst in the Northern Sun Conference. This season the Coo have flipped the script and are making a run at a conference title.
The Cougars entered their double-header against Winona St. 26-9 overall and 14-5 in the NSIC, both school records for wins. Skipper, Kelsey Thompson, has her squad currently sitting fifth in the conference and playing their best ball.
"As we head into the conference tournament I think we are in a good spot. We have talked a lot about being in this position and we have done that to this point. The girls are working really hard, they're winning games, they're competing every day and that's what we have set out to do this season," USF Manager Kelsey Thompson said.
USF is being led by two senior pitchers in Amanda Walters and Bailey Bouman. Walters, a Washington graduate, has already set the school record for strikeouts with over 170 while accounting for 16 of her squads wins.
"She is fired up," Thompson said. "She is in it to win it and I love it. She has put in a lot of hard work in the off season and it has paid off. She is determined to put the team on her back and carry them a little bit and it's working. We love it."
"It's a great accomplishment. I set goals for myself and it's always nice to meet those goals," Cougars Senior Pitcher Amanda Walters said.
One goal on every teams list is to beat their rivals. The Cougars hadn't beaten Augustana since 1978, but they changed that with a 9-0 win earlier this month. Now with ten games remaining this team is looking to cross a conference title off their to-do list.
"I think we have had a really good year so far, but we haven't scratched the surface of what we are capable of. Hopefully we can make a good postseason run. I think we still have a lot of potential and growing to do before the season is over. Overall we have been off to a really good start," Cougars Senior Pitcher Bailey Bouman said.
The Cougars took on Winona State in a twin bill at Sherman Park. We will have the highlights when we come back.