Meredith College Softball: Preparing for Success

Being a collegiate athlete is a tough task to tackle. This means handling everyday stressors that college can induce, such as juggling exams, papers, classes, and campus life, all while preparing for the season in hopes of winning as many games as possible.

Meredith College’s softball program doesn’t shy away from those challenges. In fact, they embrace them with a rigorous schedule that includes competing against elite teams at the beginning of the season in preparation for success.

Over the past few years Meredith softball has opened up the season against the defending National Champions. “Leading off against No. 1 Virginia Wesleyan has definitely been our toughest challenge this year,” said Head Coach Kim Scavone. “We got to witness one of the best pitchers in the game, and I hope her performance inspired our young pitchers as much as it inspired me.”

Aside from Virginia Wesleyan, Meredith has taken on Christopher Newport University and Piedmont College this year. All ranked among the Top-25 in the nation.

Meredith is a part of the USA South Conference which is one of the largest Division III conferences in the nation, encompassing 18 schools. The conference only has one automatic qualifier for the NCAA Tournament, so preparation before conference play is key.

Scavone is a true believer in scheduling tough opponents from the very start of the season. “Our philosophy is to schedule as many tough games as possible early in the season, which includes many Top-25 opponents as well.”

Jackie Myers, athletic director, believes highly in keeping a tough schedule year after year. “It takes hard work to prepare a team to compete against stronger opponents so once that reputation is established, our program needs to maintain that strength of schedule, even in a rebuilding year, like this year.”

Scavone and the Meredith softball team’s dedication to success is already paying off. “In the last eight seasons we have elevated the level of our program and beaten nationally ranked opponents seven times,” said Scavone.

Rachel Peel, ’19, loves the learning opportunity that each game provides. Win or lose there is room for personal gain as well as team growth.

“The best part of playing harder teams is being able to always have a positive outlook on the outcome. If we win, then we just beat a terrific team. If we lose, then we can walk away knowing we gave it our all, and as a team we can take the loss as a learning experience to see where we need to improve,” said Peel.

This intense schedule allows for Scavone and her players to hone their skills and eliminate the chance of surprises during conference play. For Charley Cox, ’19, playing these teams allows her and her teammates to realize what they need to work on going forward.

“As a competitive athlete, playing teams that are recognized as being at a higher level allows me to push myself, become mentally stronger, and realize the love I have for the game through proving I can perform at the same level,” said Cox. “It is important to play these teams because it shows us where we want our program to be one day.”

Peel has similar thoughts in regard to how competitive teams push her to be better for herself and her teammates.

“Playing these tougher teams means I need to compete at a higher level in order to even be competitive with them, and effort and discipline in the off season is a huge contributor towards that,” said Peel. “When you play with the best you eventually become the best.”

Competing with such strong programs enhances the probability of dominating during conference play and since the USA South encompasses so many teams, the structure of their schedule is essential for their success.

Myers believes in having a schedule with proportionate conference and non-conference games. “A smart coach must be able to balance the schedule with games that include some very strong regional teams to help with rankings, and also include some games against similar competition so that the team does have an opportunity to succeed,” said Myers.

For Scavone, her focus is succeeding during conference play while building strong team relations. “My goal as a coach is to have a team in mid-March that is inspired by greatness, prepared on the field, grateful for the opportunities they have been given, and ready to compete for a USA South Championship,” said Scavone.

You can catch the Avenging Angels at home on April 13 at 1 p.m. as they continue their quest for the USA South Championship.

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330