Eugene, OR. -- It’s been an angst-filled offseason for the Oregon softball team. After losing the 2018 College World Series semifinal to the Washington Huskies, the departure of former head coach Mike White and six player transfers, the Ducks are looking for a fresh start to the upcoming season.
Well, that fresh start commenced today, as the team held its first official practice of the 2019 season. Head coach Melyssa Lombardi and a few players spoke to the media today at Jane Sanders Stadium, addressing the new atmosphere of the locker room, dealing with the loss of depth and a new pitching rotation.
And with a new head coach in Melyssa Lombardi, the expectations of this program haven’t changed in the slightest.
“My expectations haven’t changed at all,” said Oregon softball coach Melyssa Lombardi. “We might look a little different this year. But I have the same expectations heading into this season and I think these athletes do too.”
The Ducks do look remarkably different than the 2018 squad. The list of transfers includes All-American pitchers Megan Kleist and Miranda Elish, along with all-conference hitters Shannon Rhodes and Mary Lakopo.
Among the select few that chose to stay is junior infielder Mia Camuso.
“I think everybody had a different reason for leaving,” said Camuso. “But I stayed because I really believe in Oregon and I love Oregon with all my heart.”
The Ducks’ 2019 season starts Feb. 8 in Tempe, AZ against the Kansas Jayhawks.
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