BEMIDJI - After three disappointing seasons, seniors Courtney Anderson and Courtney Loegering of the BSU softball team say the team goal is a .500 season.
"We would love to end up right around .500 for the season," Bemidji State head coach Rick Supinski said. "We are going to have to play really good ball every weekend (to finish around .500)."
The Beavers have won just 19 games in three seasons.
"We are trying to build a strong foundation for the next four or five years," Supinski said. "We have half of a new squad - eight new players and eight returning. I think that is the perfect mix for us."
Supinski assumed control of the program this year and is BSU's third coach in the last four years.
"He knows his stuff," Loegering said of her new coach. "He is looking to stay here and rebuild the program."
This year's team is led by seniors Anderson, Loegering and infielder Megan Beard.
"Our three seniors will be looked at as leaders," Supinski said. "Courtney Anderson is going to be a main-stay in the circle for us and she will keep us in every game.
"Megan Beard is a solid anchor for us at shortstop and in the three or four spot in the lineup."
"This being my fourth year here, I really want to try to build leadership," Loegering said. "We have a lot of young players in the outfield and I want to teach them what I know."
The team also features five incoming freshmen including Allison Roberts, Kelly Richards, Cassie MacArthur, Chelsea Tolberg and Bemidji native Summer Monsrud.
"The younger players are really well-trained and enthusiastic," Supinski said. "Cassie MacArthur is an example, she won the starting job at first base right off the bat. She has all of her mechanics down and is one of those players that you really love to coach.
"Summer Monsrud is another one," Supinski said. "She has a raw talent that a coach just loves to have. She is so quick, we just want her to focus on putting the ball in play."
Anderson is particularly excited about Roberts and MacArthur who will join her and junior Kelsey Saralampi on the Beavers pitching staff.
"As a pitcher, I am really looking forward to see what the two freshman pitchers can bring to the table," Anderson said. "Last year it was just me and Kelsey Saralampi and we both threw a lot of innings."
Anderson, who was the winning pitcher in 10 of the 19 wins over the past three seasons, is off to a good start to her senior year. She dominated Saint Vincent in a 3-0 win during the spring break trip in Claremont, Fla. She threw a no-hitter and recorded a career-best 17 strikeouts in the win.
Supinski noted that Anderson only threw 75 pitches in the game and that 11 of her 17 strikeouts came on just three pitches.
The Beavers will enter conference play with a pair of home series against Southwest Minnesota State on Saturday and Minnesota State on Sunday.
"I just want to improve on the previous years," Anderson said. "That is all I have ever wanted to do since I have been here."