Though the Quakers may not be able to bring the Florida sun back to Philadelphia, Penn softball is returning from spring break with a sunny outlook on the rest of the season.
The Red and Blue faced 10 teams in seven days at the USF-Clearwater Parks and Recreation Invitational Tournament in Clearwater, Fla. Penn finished with a 5-5 record in the tournament, defeating several opponents that have played more games than the Quakers so far this season.
Senior utility player and captain Jessica England is particularly optimistic about Penn's performance in Florida this year.
“A lot of teams already had 15 or more games under their belt by the time we played them,” England said. “Coming out with a 5-5 record was a pretty good result.”
England credited the Quakers' performance on defense, as well as clutch contributions from freshman players at the plate, for the team’s successful start to the season. She also highlighted how the Red and Blue's supportive team environment will be instrumental to their success throughout the season.
“Everyone was really supportive whether they were playing or not, so that’s a good sign,” England said.
Overall, England thinks that Penn (5-5) is going to be a formidable opponent this season.
“We’re definitely one of the stronger teams in the Ivy League,” she said. “What’s really important is for us to take it one game at a time … [and] carry this momentum.”
Penn softball has its Ivy League opener against Yale next weekend, and the Quakers hope their momentum lasts longer than their tans will.
Penn baseball also took a tour down South for its spring break, competing against UNC Greensboro, Duke, and Winthrop.
The Quakers (4-4) approached spring break as an opportunity to face high level competition and set the bar for the rest of the season.
“[We’re] just trying to really cement our roster, cement our pitching staff, cement our position players," junior pitcher and captain Christian Scafidi said. "[We want to] reinforce that we can play with some big teams, some really good teams, and come out on top. It gives us a base to go off of throughout the season.”
Though the Red and Blue did not come out on top in their first three-game series against UNC Greensboro, they were able to quickly rebound and sweep Duke and then go on to beat Winthrop in two out of the three games.
“We were close in all our games," Scafidi said. "[We were] tied going into the eighth, and we just needed to find a way … whether it was the pitcher getting an extra out or somebody stepping up and getting an extra knock at the plate.
"We were on both ends. We didn’t get the job done [against UNC Greensboro], and then we were able to find a way to get the job done in the Duke series. … I think it showed that we can really compete against anybody.”
One of the team’s greatest strengths, according to Scafidi, is its cohesive dynamic.
“The whole team’s been putting together and helping us win," he said. "Our competitiveness and our love for one another has been one of our strengths. … If one person doesn’t get the job done, the guy behind him is ready to step up."
Based on their performance thus far, Scafidi and the Quakers have their sights set high for this season.
“Obviously the goal for the season is to win an Ivy League Championship, and I think we have a really good start," Scafidi said. "We got a great group of guys here that are all working together and working together well, and I think we can definitely achieve that goal and have a better season than we did last season.”
But game-time performance is not the only thing off to a successful start for Penn baseball. When the team's first game versus Winthrop was delayed because of rain, the two teams engaged in some friendly antics — the video footage of which went viral on Barstool Sports, which dubbed it “the best rain delay war of all time.”
Only time will tell if the Quakers are cut out to clinch the Ivy League Championship, but at least they’ve already got one title under their belt this season.