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The UIS softball team is just weeks away from their regular season debut and looking forward to it. Coach Mat Mundell explained that the girls have set “lofty goals” for themselves this season. The women’s softball team will comprise of 21 players, with the majority of the players being new. “We have a great mix of returners and newcomers that we’re excited about,” said Mundell. Eight of the new players are incoming freshman and four are transfers. “Our expectations are high,” Mundell explained. The team has hopes of making it to the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) tournament and also to be one of the top teams in the conference. Mundell added, “They’ve done a good job of setting some goals I think will be obtainable for them.” This season fans will see a wide variety of players on the field. According to Mundell there is “more than one key person” that will contribute to the team’s success. He added, “What you’ll notice is that the depth will really be the strength.” This season will feature three new pitchers - sophomore Alex Smith, junior Brandi Coy and freshman Kaitlin Grohman. Returning player Cheyanne Bowman, sophomore, will also be a part of the pitching rotation. The infield will be made up of many new faces. Mundell hopes that the infield can “cut down our errors, have a high fielding percentage and turn some double plays.” He added that the infield will be “extremely athletic” and that he has “extremely high hopes for the infield.” In the outfield UIS will have mostly upperclassmen. “Outfield should be kind of a strength for us,” stated Mundell. This will be because the team has the “most experience returning there.” Mundell added that he is “expecting those girls to be leaders for us.” The team hopes to be a top competitor this year, but need to make slight changes from how they played last year. “The number one thing is being able to finish games out,” said Mundell. Mundell explained that, “Last year, we let some leads slip away late while we were in some post games,” adding, “Finishing strong every game and all seven innings is something that we’re working hard to do this year.” UIS softball will begin their pre-season games at the UAM 8-State Division II Softball Classic, the Southern Indiana Spring Classic, and the Teri Mathis Zenner Memorial Tournament. The team will then begin their season with two consecutive away games. The first four games of the Prairie Stars season will be GLVC games. The team will then compete in the 2014 Dot Richardson Spring Games. Softball pre-season began Feb. 14 and the Stars’ regular season will continue until the end of April. Mundell hopes the girls will be able to continue into post season, in hopes of making it to the regional tournament.