SAN MARCOS, Texas – Head Coach Ricci Woodard and the Texas State Softball team are
gearing up for another season as the 2023 campaign is prowling around the corner and is set to
begin, Friday, February 10, at the Bobcat Softball Stadium.
The Bobcats will play five games in their opening weekend as they host Wichita State, Kent
State, and Villanova in the Texas State Tournament.
Last season, the Bobcats finished with an overall record of 38-19 and a 19-8 record in the Sun
Belt Conference. The ‘Cats finished third in the regular season Sun Belt standings and were able
to fight their way to the Sun Belt Tournament championship game against the Louisiana Ragin’
Cajuns, falling 1-7, and ultimately putting the season to an end without an NCAA Regional berth.
The Maroon and Gold have no plans but to make their way back into the Conference
Championship Game and make an NCAA Regional, but it’s going to take every amount of
blood, sweat, and dirt to get there.
Coach Woodard knows that in order to achieve their goals, her squad must focus on the game(s)
that is right in front of them, nothing else matters. Starting strong as well as finishing strong
will be the key.
“That’s what kept us out of a Regional tournament last year,” Coach Woodard said. “Some
crucial losses early in the season that we take care of business in, we put ourselves in a spot
where we don’t have to win a Sun Belt Tournament [championship].”
Over the last season, the Bobcats and Coach Woodard noticed that leadership within the program
wasn’t where it should be and they spent the offseason trying to fix that.
“I’ve had to go back and revamp and re-look at the things that … caused some of our lack of
leadership,” Coach Woodard said. “I think they’ve done a much better job of buying in and
trying to all find their niche and who’s going to lead what situations.”
Some of the leaders in the program that Coach Woodard mentioned have really stepped up
include senior infielder Sara Vanderford, junior pitcher Jessica Mullins, and sophomore
outfielder Ciara Trahan, but also the team’s depth in leadership across the diamond.
“You see a lot of different people who can stand out at different times,” Coach Woodard said.
“It’s been fun to watch with this group.”
Mullins is set for a big year in her third season as the Bobcat’s day-to-day pitcher. She’s been
named for many different pre-season awards and accolades, such as being the only Sun Belt
player to be included in the 2023 Collegiate Player of the Year Award Watch list as well as the
Sun Belt Conference’s Preseason Pitcher of the Year.
Mullins recognizes the achievement of her success and what it means for her team, but she also
sees it as a wake-up call for herself to prove that she is who everyone says she is, or better.
“It’s more of like,” Mullins said. “Okay, now I have to start working. It’s the beginning of, okay,
I need to work harder. I think that my drive is proving people wrong and that just helps me be
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