By Eileen Flynn ’20
As we take a look back on this year, it is hard not to talk about the Providence College Softball Team. The season started off with a doubleheader in the Sunshine State, the Friars faced University of Massachusetts-Lowell and Georgia Institute of Technology in the River City Leadoff Tournament in Jacksonville, Florida. While the rest of the school was in the middle of winter, the Lady Friars were warming up for an impressive season.
PC played their next tournament the following weekend and faced teams such as St. Joseph’s University, University of Kansas, and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Although the team did not leave Florida with a winning record, the team was finding their rhythm and working through the kinks. The next team trip came at the beginning of March during the College’s spring break.
Allison Abbatiello ’19, one of the seven seniors on the team, says her favorite team memory was when the girls went to a Yankees Spring Training game. She said that even though “there were only about five or six of us who are diehard Yankee fans, the game was a really special experience.” The team spent their spring break bonding and with the new coaching staff, there were a lot of new relationships that needed to be built.
Jill Karwoski was named the head coach of the Friar’s softball team at the beginning of this year. With past experience as an assistant coach for the Friars in 2013, Karwoski was welcomed with open arms along with Assistant Coach Bree Nasti.
Abbatiello is just one of the many seniors on the team who have helped with the transition of leadership. “Although there was an unexpected adjustment to our program, I remained calm and became supportive of my teammates and new coaches.”
The team chemistry was evident in their performance during the week in Florida, when they won four out of the five games. The College won close match-ups against Furman University, Central Michigan University, United State Military Academy, and Saint Francis University.
The momentum was not stopped with the change in weather, back in New England the Friars were continuing to play well against top teams like Boston College. Daniela Alvarez ’22, pitched her seventh complete game of the season and her third shutout.
Competition is always amped up a level when it is time to play the Big East teams. St. John’s University won two out of the three game series, however, the 10-6 victory for Friars was promising for their future.
The team went on to sweep two strong Big East teams, Creighton University, and Butler University. Their most recent win was extra special for Abbatiello because in the midst of a close game, she reached a milestone she has been working towards her whole career at Providence College.
On senior day nonetheless, Abbatiello made perfect contact with the ball and sent it over the fence for a three-run home run. Vanessa Portillo ’19 followed fellow senior Abbatiello’s lead and expanded the lead for the Friars to 4-0 after she hit a home run as well.
“During my last home game of my collegiate career, I hit my first home run which was shortly followed by another home run from Vanessa Portillo. It was so exciting and a great way to conclude the seniors’ final game in Friartown.”
Although there will be no more home games for the Friars, their season is all but over. Make sure to follow along as the team plays University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Georgetown University, and hopefully gets a chance to compete in the Big East championship.