Special to the Daily Sundial
The Cal State Northridge softball team will look to combine senior leadership with young talent, hoping that mixture will yield more positive results for the 2006 season.
“We’ve been waiting for this for a while,” said senior Jan Moshier. “Especially after the way last season went.”
Following the 2004 season in which CSUN finish second in the Big West with a record of 33-16, 14-6 in conference play and participate in the NCAA Tournament, the Matadors stumbled last year, finishing seventh in the Big West with a record of 16-23, 5-16. This year, the team feels it has improved not only talent wise, but also in team unity.
“I think that (team unity) was one of the things that broke down for us last year,” said head coach Barbara Jordan. “I think the closeness of this year is back to where we need it to be in order for us to be successful.”
The 2006 Matadors are deep with senior experience as CSUN returns All-Big West Conference first team catcher Moshier, who was nothing short of spectacular in 2005. Moshier hit .299 with a team-leading nine home runs and 23 RBIs. Janine Grund, an All-Big West Second team member, also returns for her senior year after finishing third on the team with a .277 batting average. Heather Martin, who led the team in triples and stolen bases, is expected to play a huge role for the Matadors this season. Seniors Jenny Cochran and Jamie Pedersen and sophomores Aubrey Fast and Jackie Duree are also expected to contribute.
“I think we have a lot of confidence just because of the fact that we are so united right now,” Martin said. “Everybody’s here and knows their role and everybody knows what they’re doing.”
A group of newcomers will look to complement the veterans this season.
Megan Smith, a transfer from Palomar College, was an All-Pacific Coast Conference, All-State and All-American first-team member. She led the state with 15 home runs and helped the Comets to within a game of the California State Championship. Also expected to make contributions are Micah Putnam, Sarah Kahn, Amanda Peek, Kelly Zakosek and Stacy Milne.
“We’re looking forward to all of them adding to our team this year,” Jordan said.
The Matadors’ pitching staff took a hit this offseason with the graduations of Kia Fennell and Erin Sigala. Freshman Selena Salazar out of San Fernando High School and junior Sam Schroeder will look to fill the void for CSUN.
Salazar was a member of the All-Mission League team during her senior, sophomore and freshman years. She also earned All-City and MVP honors during her four years at San Fernando High.
Salazar holds the San Fernando High record for most RBIs in one season with 50 her freshman year. Schroeder appeared in six games last year for the Matadors, posting a 2.84 earned run average before an injury forced her to miss the remainder of the year.
The Matadors will begin the 2006 season at the Kajikawa Classic at Arizona State University. The Matadors will face the New Mexico Lobos in its first game and will also play ranked teams, such as Arizona and Fresno State. CSUN will face Fresno State one more time at the San Diego State Aztec Classic March 3. CSUN will also host UCLA at Matador Diamond March 25 at 1 p.m.
“I never fear who we play,” Jordan said. “I don’t really care who we play, we just want to play.”
Ivan Yeo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.