May 18th, 2005 @ 1:33 pm | Author: Vikings Sports News
The 2005 Viking Softball team brought in many new faces in the second year under head coach Chad Slyter. Eight new players came to VCSU, five of them junior college players and they helped to keep the turn around in the program headed in a positive direction. The spring season saw the Vikings accumulate five more wins (18), losing fewer games (27) and tying or breaking several team and individual records.
For the first time in a while the team went south for spring break, participating in the William Woods University Invitational Tournament in Jefferson City, MO. While there the Vikings played the number eight and fourteen rated teams in the country. The Vikings also completed a tough non-conference schedule before competing in the DAC 10 regular season. The Vikings finished the season 4-0 against Division III foes Presentation College and University of Minnesota-Morris and swept Division II Bemidji State University. During the DAC 10 season, the Vikings scored victories of number one University of Mary and number three Dickinson State University. Although the Vikings finished only 5-17 in DAC 10 Conference play, six of those losses were by one or two run deficits.
The post season was once again good to the Vikings who have quickly developed the reputation of a tournament team. Coming in as the seventh seed, the Vikings knocked off the number two seed Jamestown College 8-3 before losing the second round game to number three ranked Dickinson State in the second round 5-2. The first loser out game had the Vikings pulling out an 11 inning epic battle with rival Mayville State University 11-9, to keep their regional tournament hopes alive. The run would fall short in their second loser out game, coming to the hands of their first round opponent Jamestown College by a score of 3-1. Valley City State finished fourth in the tournament.
The Vikings will lose only one senior off of the 2005 squad in outfielder Nicole Swenson. Returning for the Vikings will be a strong hitting and pitching squad that also saw vast improvements throughout the season defensively. Freshman Jessica McDougall broke the twenty three year old record of 32 rbi’s (Tracy Kaupan, 1982) by knocking in a total of 38 runs. McDougall would also tie the single season hit total of 51 set in 1999 by Melissa Winning. Sophomore Jackie O’Neill also broke her own single season stolen base record of the 2004 season (18) by swiping 29 bases in a total of 30 attempts. For the second year in a row the Vikings set the team stolen base record totaling 64 in 69 attempts and the team tied the single season home run record set previously in 1999 with nine.
ìI believe the 2005 season was another step in the right direction. Sure we would have like to have won more games and have ended with a better record, but the important thing to remember is that we competed in 99% of our games this season. Of the losses that we had, we had an opportunity to win those games in all but five games. To be able to compete the way we did, have the players returning that we do and by adding some potentially good recruits, I believe sets things up nicely for next season. There is a buzz back into our program, not only on our campus, but we are also getting recognition and respect from our conference peers,î Slyter commented on the 2005 season.