University of Montevallo set to kick off first softball season
By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Reporter
MONTEVALLO- The sports landscape at the University of Montevallo is less than a week away from getting just a little bit bigger. In less than a week, the university will host the inaugural women’s softball game on campus, adding the sport to its growing list of options for student-athletes. The program has worked towards this date for the past year, ever since the hire of head coach Lindsay Vanover in January of 2014. Vanover, along with assistant coach Alexa Peterson, have worked exhaustively over the last 12 months to build a team from scratch in order to take the field this year.
“At the beginning, we had to get kids on campus,” Vanover, a Texas native said in a Jan. 27 phone interview. “Once we got kids here and they saw the campus, and saw the opportunity to build a program in every way, we started to really build our team.”
Creating a program where there was not one before takes time, and Vanover understands the job is not done. “What we want this year is to build a sustainable culture,” she said. “Of course we want to win, but we’re really focused on our culture and developing our players the right way.” Vanover went on to explain how starting a program means there might be some early bumps, however staying true to their ideas about what the program should look like and continuing to develop chemistry within the team.
The team, which is composed of 15 freshmen and seven juniors according to Peterson, is being built on players who, as Vanover said, “want to make something great.”
With the right kids coming into the program, Vanover believes the future is bright for the fledgling program. “In five years, I want us to be competing for National Championships. I want us to be winning conference tournaments and winning playoff games,” Vanover said.
Montevallo’s first game is schedule to take place on Sunday, Feb. 1 at the University’s athletic complex.
“The opportunity for these girls to build a program from the ground up is exciting,” said Vanover. “This team gets to be a part of history.”