New Coach Aims to Turn Around Lehman Softball Slump

By Ashley Francis

The Lightning huddles as they prepare for a doubleheader matchup against St. Joseph’s on April 15. Photo by Ashley Francis.

This season hasn’t been a walk in the park for the women’s softball team. With new players and a coach in her first year, the Lightning have a lot of potential obstacles to overcome if they’re to make it through. In the previous season, they had had a subpar record, averaging out as an under .500 team. The 2017 campaign also started in a severe slump, with the Lightning starting 1-14 throughout March. This performance means the new coach, Erin Van Nostrand, will have her hands full for the rest of this season.

Van Nostrand, who took over the position at the start of the season, makes the team’s fifth coach in four seasons. With her history of success, it is  hoped that she will turn the team’s losing streak into a winning one. In 2012, Van Nostrand was named Softball Coach of the Year after leading the Pacific Lutheran University Lutes to win the 2012 NCAA Division III National Championship.

Given the many coaching changes of the Lehman team, she hopes bring that same intensity to the Lightning. “It’s been an adjustment to go from a nationally ranked team to [a team] trying to rebuild,” she commented. The Lightning has a lot athleticism, she added, but needs to develop a better understanding of a winning culture.

During an intense practice in preparation for the upcoming double header against St. Joseph’s College, it was apparent that the team was looking for new ways to regain confidence after two wins before spring break.

Player of the Week Maranda Diaz said that in her opinion, communication will determine the outcome of the season. The essentials, she added, are “coming together as a team, communicating more, and just working as a team.” She has been on a roll of late, going 9-for-12 (.750) with seven runs and nine runs batted in, without a doubt showing up as one of the few bright spots for the struggling Lightning.

Lehman senior Linda Resto, who has had quite the career after leading the team in RBI’S last season as she nears graduation with a major in social work, explained that there was a point early on this season when she felt overwhelmed and took a break to gain some clarity. However, she says, having a new coach has boosted her confidence. “The coaching has been the best it’s been since I’ve been here,” said Resto.

Maranda Diaz and Arlette Martinez during practice. Photo by Ashley Francis.

Van Nostrand encourages her players not to be defeated, but instead to strive. “Don’t give it anything more or anything less, but play with all you’ve got” she said. “This is your college experience.”

The Lightning won eight of their last ten games, but the season came to a tragic end after losing to Hunter College on May 7, 2017 in the CUNY playoffs.