With another new head coach at the helm, Ferris Softball has begun to prepare for the 2014 season.
Ferris’ softball program is coming off a season where they went 29-16 with a 20-6 league record, plus an NCAA tournament appearance, under the leadership of former head coach, Marie Foster. Foster departed from the program in August and has recently taken a job as the associate head coach of Western Michigan University.
The team filled its head coaching job for the fourth time in four years in mid-November with the arrival of Sarah Rotta.
Rotta took the reins from interim head coach and now assistant Dawn Thompson. Thompson was named head coach two times in the last four seasons in non-consecutive years.
Rotta, a Michigan native, has more than 15 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level. She was most recently the head coach for University of Michigan-Dearborn. Rotta also had a terrific stint with Mocomb Community College, where she won NJCAA regional coach of the year honors in 2001 and 2003.
Even though Rotta has only spent a little over a week with her new team, it seems as though she has earned the trust and respect of her players that is so vital in building a winning program.
“The first thing I noticed about Coach Rotta is she is very passionate about the game. She has played the game and understands us as players,” junior pitcher Cara DeLange said. “If we have a problem or need something, she does everything she can to help us with it. That’s a nice quality to have in a coach. I expect us to go a long way with her as our coach.”
DeLange has spent the offseason recovering from shoulder surgery and hopes to contribute to a strong pitching squad that includes senior Amy Dunleavy, who helped anchor Ferris’ squad last year.
Under Rotta, the Bulldogs will have a talented, yet very young team. Ferris currently has seven freshmen and three sophomores as the bulk of their 16-woman squad, with only two seniors in Dunleavy and outfielder Alex Wittman. The mix of youth and experience will be the platform on which Rotta can lead this team to remain a GLIAC contender.
“As a team, we have the goal to become the GLIAC champions and make it far in the post-season,” freshman pitcher Stacy Thompson said. “Ferris will see a determined, confident and well-bonded team come March.”
The Bulldogs’ offseason will continue until Mar. 1 when the team heads to Evansville, Indiana, for their first action of the 2014 season.