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Boosted by sophomore middle infielder Sarah Cwiertnia, Penn softball managed a 4-6 record during a tough trip to Florida, putting the Quakers in prime position for Ivy play.

Credit: Ananya Chandra

After a successful spring break trip to Clearwater, Florida, Penn softball’s season has officially started, and the Quakers are ready to make their mark in the Ivy League.

Victorious against St. Bonaventure, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Towson, and University of Southern Florida, the Red and Blue opened their season on a high note against some competitive opponents.

“I think we did really well and held our own against some tough teams for our first time out for the season,” junior captain Mason Spichiger said.

Sophomore infielder Sarah Cwiertnia proved to be a key part of the squad with her performances in Florida. Similar to Spichiger, she felt positive about the team’s progress and is confident in its abilities.

“The purpose of going to Florida is to fine tune everything,” she said. “We spend a month in the bubble scrimmaging so I think it was really great to come out and play some good teams to get ready for the Ivy league season.”

Playing these teams was important to establish the team dynamic for the season ahead, but it is also crucial that the team uses these games as a way to improve and tweak mistakes early on in the season before hitting the Ivy League season.

“We have a pretty deep team and I feel confident that anyone on our team can get a hit in our lineup,” Spichiger said, “so with that, we’ll go far.”

By utilizing everyone on the team and creating depth in their squad, the Red and Blue will have strength in numbers over their opponents. With the entire team on the same game plan and striving for the same goals, Penn can overcome adversity that comes its way as the season progresses.

While in Clearwater, the team got a taste of such adversity with a brutal slate of ten games, and the Quakers didn’t back down.

“It was our first games so we were just trying to get a feel for everything, but we tried to keep the energy high and play hard all the way through so that when we are in those tight games we can keep fighting. I thought we did that really well,” Spichiger said.

The team reacted well to some highly competitive opponents, and came out with some triumphs despite their foes’ gaudy reputations.

“We played some really good teams and beat USF so that was really big for us,” Cwiertnia said. “We were really excited and really pumped, and I feel like this is great for our season because we can carry this momentum over into our [Ivy League] opening weekend next weekend.”

Some of the most important parts of traveling to Florida to play were finding the strengths and weaknesses of the squad. Through these games, the Red and Blue could easily pinpoint what they did well as a group.

“We try to put the ball on the ground and keep the ball in play and we seem to be very effective at doing that,” Cwiertnia said. “We want to continue to score runs and make the other team a little bit uneasy on their feet and I think we’ve been successful at doing that.”

While the team played a total of ten games while in Florida, there was also time for team bonding.

“It is the first time we are really stuck with each other for a week so it is great for team bonding and getting to eat dinner together is always really fun,” Spichiger said.

Similar to her teammate, Cwiertnia thought the team bonding experience was very rewarding, and Florida was a great place to spend spring break.

“Besides team dinners we watched movies and got to sit by the pool. Some of us even went to the beach which was really nice,” Cwiertnia said.

With a lot of hard work and some down time in between, the Quakers set the tone for a successful season that lies ahead.

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