The University of Indianapolis softball team is practicing and preparing for the upcoming spring season with a goal of making it even further than they did in their 2023 season, where they made it to super regionals and ended the season with a record of 53-10 according to UIndy Athletics. The team is set to start their season on Feb. 9 in Tennessee and will play their first home game on March 23, per UIndy Athletics. Head Coach Missy Frost is in her 20th season of coaching and says she has high hopes for what the team can accomplish this year.
“We just had our first full week of practice,” Frost said. “I think the effort, the attitude, the intensity is all there. And it was there last year, but I think it’s just ramped up to a whole different level. And it’s really, really good to see the base of where the young ladies came back at and kind of our starting point. I think it really allows us to be prepared and get out and play in two weeks.”
Despite not being able to practice outside due to the recent weather, Frost says she feels the team is ahead of where they were at this point in the season last year. The team does not expect to be able to get outside until they leave for their first game. One of the biggest challenges for the team this year, according to Frost, will be building on the success the team already experienced last year having won their conference and qualifying for postseason play. Along with this, Frost said integrating the new girls into the already established team culture is a focus for the team but not something she is worried about because that is something she faces as a coach every year with a new team.
Frost has high expectations for her team this year, which comes along with high intensity during practices—and she is proud of the way the team has handled it thus far. The team has a good group of senior leaders, Frost said, who have taken in the younger and new players and helped to create a positive, different space than they were in last year. Fifth-year catcher Lexy Rees has already spent four years playing for UIndy and has enjoyed seeing the growth not only in herself but the team as well. What she loves about the team is the culture that they have created over the years and its continual development to make it stronger.
“I think the girls who continue to come back take where we were at the end of the year and that’s where we start,” Rees said. “Like, the love that we had for each other at the end of the year, it just continued to grow throughout the next season.”
According to Rees, the team got a reality check when they came back from summer break and the team became aware of some areas where they needed to improve. The goal of the team, Rees said, is to have the best year that they can and leave the program better than when she and the other, more experienced, girls came in. One of the ways the team does that is by looking to improve every single time they come out for practice.
“I think that our goal is just to come here and get better every single day, no matter where we are,” Rees said. “You get better in hitting one day, you get better in fielding, you get better in leading, communicating, it doesn’t matter what it is.”
For Frost and her team, a focus for this year will be making this team the best the program has ever experienced in order to build on to the successful season they had last year. The goal for the team, as it is every year, is to win a national championship. According to Frost, this comes with a number of smaller goals to achieve this.
“[There are] a lot of things that we strive for yearly.We want to break the wins record here,” Frost said. “We want to turn around and break the home run record. We want to break the strikeout record. I mean, I feel like all those things just are a byproduct of the winning piece of it. But I think that’s something that this crew, I’d like to see them go down in history as doing that. I think our senior classes have done a tremendous job at being leaders … I think they uphold the culture of this program. When things have not gone in the direction they’ve wanted it, they’ve stepped in and found a way to fix it.”
The team has a lot of obstacles and objectives ahead of them before setting their sights on the end goal of making it to the NCAA national championship. According to Rees, this means that the team needs to focus on one game at a time and earning the wins to make it that far.
“I would love to win a natty [national championship], but we have it in our heads we have to win conference regular season and then we win the tournament and then we get to host,” Rees said. “We take it one at a time, but winning a natty, that’s the goal.”
The softball team is hoping to have another successful season, according to Frost, and she encourages students and fans to come experience and share those thrilling moments with them. Frost said the team is fast paced and exciting to watch and as a coach and fan.
“I think that that’s something that the fans see as well,” Frost said. “They get to see the big plays and it looks routine to them and to us, it’s really big victories for all the work that they put in on the backside.”
The softball team kicks off their season on Feb. 10 against Mercyhurst and Lee at Lee University.