ORONO – Thursday morning, the University of Maine softball team left campus at 4:30 to embark on its first of many road trips in the new season. But with the new season comes new expectations.
Last year, despite some early under-achievement, the Black Bears came within one game of another NCAA Tournament appearance, which would have been its second in a row. Because of that, the conference has selected them to once again be a top dog in America East. Maine played just six home games last year but still finished as strongly as it did, which senior outfielder Erika Leonard said this week is the new normal.
“Every single year on out will have that same grit,” Leonard said. “And UMaine softball is not backing down. We will not back down.”
Leonard also noted the team is embracing being one of the chased teams in the conference, because it justifies everything they are working to accomplish.
“So every single year from hereon out, everybody should have a target on our back every single year,” she said.
“And we’re ready for it.”