Anders Said It: Villanova Softball Poised for Three-Peat Despite Slow Start


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Villanova softball has slow start to the season.

Anders Pryor, Staff Writer

Villanova’s softball team has not gotten off to the start we have all hoped for. A 1-4 record last weekend brings them to 4-6, with most recently a brutal 11-3 downfall against Dayton. 

From the outside looking in, Villanova does not seem like the team someone would predict won their conference last year. Don’t get too distracted from the upside: this Wildcat team is poised for a three-peat in the Big East with upperclassmen leading the charge. 

After 10 games last season, the softball team was 3-7. Only two of the games were against ranked opponents (No. 4 Florida and No. 14 Duke), and it had two shutouts against Florida and Marshall. What brought the team into the light of success was its mid-season 12-game winning streak that included three clean sweeps against Georgetown, Creighton, and Providence. 

While that momentum carried over for Villanova into the Big East Tournament, it’s especially important to note that all three teams that Villanova faced in that tournament – Butler, DePaul and UConn – were conference teams that Villanova did not sweep in the regular season. 

It took poise for Villanova to be able to learn from its mistakes and make those adjustments when it mattered most. With a team that’s so focused on veteran experience, that will show on the scoresheet later this season.

Through 10 games, junior centerfielder Tess Cites leads the team with 10 hits, averaging one per contest. Cites finished last season with 21 hits, putting her today at already just under half of her previous production. Senior catcher Ally Jones and senior third baseman Chloe Smith both have five hits on the year, with Smith coming second on the roster in total bases with 10. 

Graduate catcher Ryan Henry leads the team in both batting average at an impressive .333 and in slugging percentage at a powerful .750. Both numbers are tremendous improvements within the sample size with Ryan finishing last season with a .262 average and a .469 slugging percentage. 

The improvements the upperclassman have made not only put those athletes in a better position for success, but positions the whole team for recreating a similar late season push we all saw drive them to success last year.

This is an experienced team that with two titles under their belt in two years has put it in a lot of big spots. Those spots won’t bring the kind of pressure it would for other programs. They’ve demonstrated time and time again that they can learn, make adjustments and perform in big spots. 

As head coach Bridget Orchard enters her fifth season coaching the Wildcats, she looks to go three-for-five in clinching the Big East. Even though she might not have put together a dominant win-loss record in a season, her ability to lead this team to success at the end surmounts all of that. She’s not worried about the ceiling of her ballclub, and we shouldn’t be either.