The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.


Now-senior Katie Reagan loads her stance in the batter's box against Princeton on April 2, 2023.

Credit: Nathaniel Sirlin

The arrival of spring signifies an opportunity for clean slates and new beginnings. As the dawn of a new season reaches the horizon, Penn softball is more than ready for a fresh start.

After concluding the 2023 season with a less-than-ideal 8-37 record — one that began with the longest losing streak in program history — the Quakers have their eye on redemption as they gear up for the 2024 season. An aggressive offseason marked by major coaching changes indicates that the team is committed to starting on new footing.

The Red and Blue quickly achieved its offseason goal of filling its head coach position left vacant by the retirement of longtime coach Leslie King prior to the 2023 season. In late June, the program found a permanent leader in Christie Novatin. Known for her offensive dominance at UConn, Novatin is focused on addressing weaknesses in an offense that finished second in the Ivy League last year in batting. With the team’s loss of its top hitter Sarah Schneider, Novatin will look to new strategies at the plate to get the ball in play.

Just as teamwork is the key to success, Novatin won’t be taking on this endeavor alone. The Quakers picked up a pair of new assistant coaches — Christina Biggerstaff and Kristin Hallam — to focus on pitching and recruiting, respectively. The trio is prioritizing building confidence and trust within the team to ensure its return to success.

“It’s not going to happen overnight,” Novatin previously told The Daily Pennsylvanian. “We’re going to have to work really hard. We’re going to have to chip away at the little things … but that’s the difference for championship teams. They are really tough late in the year and have this 'refuse to lose' mentality.”

Despite the loss of Schneider and other seniors, including first team All-Ivy pitcher and utility player Bella Fiorentino, the Quakers welcomed five new freshmen ahead of the upcoming season. Covering all areas in pitching, catching, and fielding, new faces will take the field at Penn Park ready to make an impact. Combined with a returning group of players with experience against Ivy League opponents, the team will have a mix of perspectives to rely on throughout the season.

The Red and Blue will hit the ground running to start the season with a trip to Lynchburg, Va., on Feb. 23 to compete in the Liberty Classic. Facing tough opponents in Morgan State, Saint Francis, Liberty, and Penn State, the team will have plenty of opportunities for growth ahead of the start of Ivy League play in late March.

The 2024 season will come with its challenges, but Penn softball is prepared to face them head-on. While they may not reach the top of the Ivy League immediately, it’s never wise to rule out an underdog.