Every new season brings a renewed sense of optimism, that’s no different for the Princeton softball team.
The Lady Panthers made some big changes over the summer, bringing in new head coach Brian Goulart. He ended the season as an assistant coach of the team and brings a state championship pedigree from his 22 years of coaching in California previously.
Immediately, the Lady Panthers have seen growth. The team is motivated to get back onto the field this season, and it showed in the fall league to start the year.
“Summer is more fun, getting to know each other and learning their skills,” Goulart said. “In fall league, we won the championship and I thought we were pretty good. We hit the ball really well as a team and I was surprised with how good our pitching was and no we have a little vision of changing the culture and winning some games.”
Toward the end of last season, Goulart noticed how down some of the players were coming off of a losing season. He worked hard over the summer, convincing some of the players to come back out to play and demonstrating how much he wanted to adjust. The feeling in the team now compared to last season feels like night and day.
“We want to compete,” Goulart said. “It would be really fun to be the Princeton team that breaks the mold and says, ‘This is who Princeton softball is.’ We’re looking to start a new tradition and these girls want to be treated and valued more like they should. We’re going to earn our way.”
A big reason for optimism is the amount of returning talent in the fold, with only two seniors on last season’s roster. Top hitters on the team, rising juniors Hallie Day, Emily Autrey, Laney Truitt, and Kennedy Cox, all return to the fold. That group of players will once again be the core of the team.
“One of the big parts of the summer was asking a lot of those players to come back,” Goulart said. “Once they all came back, we also got a few transfers who came in who can play and are going to be impactful players for us this season.”
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