By Alexis De La Cruz |Staff Writer|
The season is over but there are no tears for our Coyote softball players.
Seniors Cassandra Williams, Jessica Angulo and Caelan Smith keep their heads high after their historic season.
“It was honestly the best season I could have asked for my senior year. Going to Regionals and going to the CCAA tournament was the best feeling. Last year we came half a game short, so to come back and see that all the hard work we had done paid off was a great feeling,” said outfielder, Smith.
The Coyotes came in a close second this season and earned the second-best winning record in school history. Their trip to the CCAA tournament was the team’s first time back since 2008.
Angulo and Smith both transferred after two years at Saddleback College. Neither knew much about CSUSB or the program but when head coach Jim Maier offered them a chance to play, they could not refuse.
“It was a unique experience to be able to play four years together at different schools. We didn’t know anything about the school but when coach asked us if we wanted to be a part of a new program I just took the opportunity. I don’t regret it at all because we are here after two years making history,” said Angulo.
For just the third time in CSUSB history, the Coyote softball team earned a berth to the NCAA tournament, however, that was not the biggest highlight of the team’s season.
When asked about their favorite moments from this season, Smith recalled their wins against last year’s national runner-up, Humboldt State.
“They were the number one team in the nation and beating them three games out of four was one of the coolest things we had done,” said Smith.
“That moment changed us, in a way that we were so confident in ourselves and in the team as a whole. It was a dream to make it to the playoffs but after beating them we really felt like we could really do this. It’s what helped us get as far as we did,” said Williams.
Now that their time as student athletes is over, they must try to adjust to life without softball.
“It was already weird waking up thinking I’m busy, I have to go to practice, and then realizing no I’m done I don’t have softball anymore,” shared Angulo.
“Coach has asked if we wanted to come back and be a student coach for the next season, we are definitely thinking about it,” said Williams. “We don’t want to be strangers, this is still our family and we want to see them do well.”
The three still have a few more quarters before earning their degrees, so they will still be around to give the newcomers some advice as they embark on their own Coyote journey.
“I want the newcomers to know that they are getting a new family, said Williams. “They are getting the best sisters.”
“It’s going to be a long four years, but it’s worth it. It’s more than just a sport, you learn a lot about life, and how to juggle things,” added Smith.
Playing at CSUSB has been very rewarding for the three who are just happy they were able to leave their mark on the program. They have certainly raised the bar for teams to come.