Virginia Softball Eyes Next Step Forward

Virginia Cavaliers
Virginia won 30 games last season, but now the team hopes for more success in 2024. ~ Photo courtesy of Virginia Athletics Media Relations

Mark your calendars! The Virginia softball team returns to action on Friday in its season opener against UNC Greensboro at the South Carolina Tournament in Columbia, SC. The Hoos have improved under coach Joanna Hardin, but they hope to turn that trend toward postseason dreams this season.

Last season, the Cavaliers went 30-22 and 8-16 in conference play, which earned an 8th place ranking in the ACC. This showed improvement from the past two seasons, where they won 28 games in 2022 and 15 games in 2021. This upward direction is due in part to recruiting where the team has successfully drafted a top 25 recruiting class in back-to-back years.

For that to translate to NCAA Tournament quality, UVA will need to find more consistent play. During the regular season last spring, the Hoos upset No. 4 Florida State and No. 13 Virginia Tech, but they lost their final eight games, which eliminated them from postseason play. In order to have a successful regular season and postseason, they will need to fill the gaps of their recent graduates and utilize both experienced upperclassmen and their new, young talent.

Hoos to Know

The Wahoos had a big 2023 graduating class as they lost seven players. That included three pitchers crucial to their rotation in Jenny Bressler, Molly Grube, and Mackenzie Wooten. Bressler and Grube more than 60 innings of play, while Wooten played a crucial part for the Cavaliers’ relief. For the position players, the Hoos had to say goodbye to infielder Mikaila Fox, DP Tori Gilbert, shortstop Katie Goldberg, and first baseman Gabby Baylog.