2023 UWF softball season preview

Austin Lloyd, Staff Writer

The UWF Argos softball team is set to start its 2023 campaign next Friday, and, based on the streak that the program is currently on, it has quite the standard to meet.

The Argos have not seen a full season with less than 30 wins since 2015, which was also the last year that they finished with a losing record. That level of consistency is bound to place a lot of pressure on both the players and coaches, especially after the early postseason exit they saw in 2022.

Entering last year’s Gulf South Conference Tournament, the Argos held a record of 30-13, but back-to-back losses to Montevallo and Valdosta State gave them their shortest postseason stint since 2007 (not including years they missed the postseason entirely).

It’d be fair to assume that the unfortunate change of pace would add to the aforementioned pressure on the Argos’ shoulders, but head coach Ashliegh McLean has nonetheless worked very hard to keep her team’s confidence at an all-time high.

“It’s part of our culture here now, we recruit kids that want to come in and win,” McLean said. “The kids that we have here are hungry, especially with what happened last year.”

One of the best qualities of a capable head coach is the ability to maintain confidence in his/her players, and Coach McLean has seemingly done so successfully. That is seen not only in her leadership, but also in team practices.

The more the Argos have practiced over the course of the offseason, the more their readiness has developed. That has been the case in regards to both their skill and chemistry.

Senior infielder Kayla Mayo is one of several Argos that endured last season’s heartbreaking conclusion, and the team practices have helped her and her teammates feel all the more eager to get this season started on the right foot.

“I feel like we need to keep focus and still have fun at the same time,” Mayo said. “That will translate when we start playing games this season.”

The 2023 schedule will test their focus early, as the first name on the calendar is Barry University. The Buccaneers, who beat UWF in its season opener last year, will be hosting a doubleheader against the Argos in Miami Shores.

The doubleheader will serve as just two of 10 road games to take place before the Argos play their home openers against Flagler on Feb. 18. It’s nothing that Mayo feels this team can’t handle, though.

“We’re still working out all of our little kinks together,” Mayo said. “But I feel like every practice we’re getting better.”

The Argos will face the Barry Buccaneers on Friday, Feb. 3. The games are set for 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. EST.