CSUN softball heads for competitive season

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The CSUN women's softball prepare for their opening game this Friday, Feb. 9, 2105 versus Wisconsin in the 2015 Kajikawa Classic at Tempe, Ariz. Photo credit: Raul Martinez

Nate Graham

CSUN softball participated in a light intra-squad on Friday as they prepare for the 2017 season and look to improve on their solid 34 and 22 win-loss record of 2016.

The pitcher was our Big West First team honoree Daphne Pofek who was locked in, striking out three batters in a row to the end the scrimmage.

The senior posted a 2.78 era, a 19-8 record and 102 strikeouts in 178.1 innings pitched.

Pofek was modest about her 2016 success saying it has motivated her to have an even better 2017 season.

“I don’t really think about awards or anything,” Pofek said. “I spend my off season working on improving every area of my game, people have scouting reports on me now so I just have to come back better stronger with more movement on the ball.”

Behind the plate for Pofek is Karlie Habitz, fellow senior and reigning Big West Defensive Player of the Year.

Habitz had a .976 fielding percentage with 175 putouts in 53 games played, and is second on the team for most home runs.

Going into her final season Habitz seemed calm and determined, ready to get out there on the field and compete with the group of girls.

“I’m most excited just to play and give it my all, this is my last go around so I want to make the best of it,” Habitz said. “I think this group has great comradery, we all get along very well and we hold each other accountable on and off the field.”

The connection is aided by 12 returning seniors. Nine of them have been a part of the team since their freshman year.

Head Coach Tairia Flowers believes the veterans on the team will contribute to a good season.

“They know what to expect going into a long season, helping to stay positive and understanding where we are as a team and what we can do will help them with their confidence,” Flowers said.

The Matadors face a challenging schedule next season playing against 11 teams that participated in the 2016 NCAA tournament, including the highly competitive Big West conference that had five teams with double-digit conference victories last season.

CSUN was unable to knock off their rivals Cal State Fullerton for the Big West championship last season, finishing three games behind the Titans.

“We have the mindset that no game is bigger than any other no matter who we are playing,” Pofek said. “When we play we are going to bring our A-game and I think our team is ready for whoever we play.”

They begin the season with a string of tough match-ups at the Hillenbrand Invitational in Tucson, AZ.

All five of their games will be against teams that played in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, playing against, Baylor, Arizona, Fordham, Tulsa and Northwestern.

CSUN starts their season Feb. 10 with a double-header against Baylor and Arizona.