Feb 24th, 2012 @ 10:51 am | Author: Viking Sports Admin
The Valley City State University Softball team returns fourteen letter winners off a team that claimed stake to the highest ever Dakota Athletic Conference (DAC) regular season finish for a Viking Softball team. With that experience and a talented group of incoming freshman, the Vikings look forward to a successful first season as a member of the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.).
The Vikings finished third in the regular season DAC standings last spring with a 12-5 record (21-19 overall), being the only team to beat the top two teams in the conference. That success and the number of returning starters have the bar set high for the upcoming season.
With a senior class of six student athletes, the Vikings have great leadership from the top. Cyndi Figol (Brandon, MB), Jen Shadlock (Brandon, MB) and Jane Pettit (Rushford, MN) have all been starters in their first three years at VCSU. Katie McBride (Grand Rapids, MN) and Emma Nelson (Grand Rapids, MN) were both junior college transfers last season that gave the Vikings a great pitching/catching combination and Sara Gullickson (Spiritwood, ND) has been the primary speed weapon for Valley City State in her tenure as a Viking.
The junior class is also filled with returning starters. Hilary Kulczewski (Windsor, CA) was the leading offensive producer for the Vikings last season and will provide that same punch in the middle of the lineup this season. Shortstop Adrianna Boychuck (Portage La Prairie, MB) returns from a knee injury that shortened her season last year and she once again will anchor the defense in the infield. Lone junior outfielder Hayley Bevan (South Surrey, BC) has been a mainstay in right field since her freshman year and has improved every season.
The sophomore class provides athleticism and versatility for the Vikings with many being able to play multiple positions for the Vikings. Stephanie Lahey (Calgary, AB), Caitlin Giesbrecht (Winnipeg, MB), Liz Hall (North Pole, AK), Courtney Shadlock (Brandon, MB) and Brittany Lehner (Watertown, SD) all provide great depth on defense and in the offensive lineup for the Valley City State.
A talented group of freshman will keep the Vikings moving in the right direction and push the returning players in practice and on the field. Mackenzie Hamre (Enderlin, ND), Paige Brandvold (Valley City, ND), Savannah McMillin (Roseville, CA), Shayna Taffinder (Delta, BC) and Kati Reisenauer (Evansville, MN) all bring something to the lineup and team for the Vikings. Speed, power and pitching make this class a great asset for Valley City State.
The Vikings open their 2012 campaign on Saturday, February 25 versus rival Jamestown College at the St. Cloud State Dome Invitational Tournament. First pitch is set for 8:00 AM on Saturday morning. Valley City State then returns for two games on Sunday the 26th, playing NCAA Division II and NSIC members Augustana College at 2:00 PM before finishing the weekend with a 4:00 PM start versus Upper Iowa University.
As a new member to the A.I.I. conference, the Vikings will look to be in the top six of the A.I.I. rankings at the end of the month of April in hopes of making the conference tournament in Columbus, GA. Valley City State was ranked fifth in the pre-season conference rankings last November. The A.I.I. National Qualifying Tournament will send the top two teams to the NAIA National Tournament in Gulf Shores, AL.