Pre-season confidence high for softball


Katie Mcilheran

Meghan Dunning takes an at bat last season against UW-River Falls at the Warhawks home stadium.

Mikey Rottier, Women’s Sports Editor

The Warhawk softball team is gearing up to enter a fresh new season with a roster full of experienced veterans and new faces. 

Whitewater will open their season with a road trip to Florida, Sunday Mar. 19 through Saturday Mar. 25. They play 12 games throughout the trip to jump start their season. After they finished the 2022 season with a 20-19 record, the Warhawks are hopeful to improve on last season’s performance. 

Junior shortstop Meghan Dunning will be beginning her third season with the softball program and has high hopes for this year’s squad. Dunning has a career batting average of .32o, in 67 total games. 

“We have a lot of potential this year. We have a very talented freshman class, but we also have a lot more experience on the team than last year,” Dunning said. “I am excited to just have an opportunity to match up with and hopefully take down our biggest competitors.” 

The new faces on this year’s team include eight true freshmen and an acquisition from the transfer portal, right-handed pitcher Maddy Anderson. Dunning explained how it can be a challenge building a team around so many newcomers, but the team is just trying to teach them what Wahawk softball is all about, and uphold the Whitewater reputation within the conference.

After a less dominant performance than usual in the 2022 season, the expectations for the Warhawks are lowered going into the upcoming season. Whitewater head coach Brenda Volk is optimistic about this team’s abilities to smash preseason expectations.

“We are probably considered more of an underdog this year, which isn’t always a bad thing,” Volk said. “It will hopefully allow us to just go out and play with no fear and beat some teams that on paper that we probably aren’t supposed to beat.”

Volk predicts that her team will have a lot of improvement. Many of last year’s starters were new, but Volk thinks that with a year of experience, a number of players will be able to make a big jump. 

“When we had our 4 week season this fall, our returnees looked like completely different players and you could tell just how much more comfortable everyone was,” Volk said. “I am expecting all of them to be at another level this spring.”

Pitcher Maddy Anderson, a graduate transfer from Western-Illinois University, is also expected to add a spark on the mound. 

“I think we are all really excited to see what kind of impact she is going to be able to bring to the team and how she will gel with all of us and contribute to the team’s success,” Dunning said. 

The goals for the team are always to win games, but this season the Warhawks are also emphasizing growth as a team and playing the games pitch by pitch. To maximize confidence, the team is encouraging their players to play in the moment and not be influenced by whether they are winning or losing. 

“We always talk about confidence, because Warhawk athletics are super known and everyone wants to beat the Warhawks,” Dunning said. “We know that everyone talks about us and is scared to play us, so we need to let that give us the confidence to keep winning.”

Coach Volk and the Warhawks will play their season opener in Florida against the University of Southern Maine, Sunday Mar. 19, at 8 a.m. The first home game for Whitewater will be against Elmhurst, Friday Mar. 31, at the Van Steenderen Complex.