first_img By Warren RappleyeaStaff Writer By Warren Rappleyea Staff Writer With a new coach and several returning starters, the Holmdel High School softball team is looking to surpass last spring’s 8-13 record. Following some poor weather during the week, the Hornets finally opened the season on Saturday against defending Parochial A champion St. John Vianney and suffered a 10-0 loss. “I’m looking at this as kind of a building year because this is a young team even though it has some varsity experience,” said coach Lisa Schutt. “But I have high expectations and I’m going to push the girls hard. We’re going to train like a championship team and do our best to play like one.” Schutt knows a thing or two about winning. She played for Middletown South, a perennial Shore Conference power, and at the University of Georgia. Last year she served as a volunteer assistant for Tom Erbig at Middletown South. The new coach plans to lean on the experience of senior co-captains Stacie Gussis and Angela Sze to help lead the way. Gussis, a first baseman in her third varsity campaign, and Sze, an excellent defensive center fielder, are also among the Hornets’ top hitters. Holmdel carries just three other seniors, outfielders Lizzy Hayashida and Alaina Infuntino, and second baseman Tara Ruda, all of whom moved up from the junior varsity. Junior Juliann Vikse, an outfielder last spring, is the Hornets’ primary pitcher. Schutt noted that Vikse has good speed on her deliveries and has been hitting spots consistently. Sophomore Jen Curran, who earned a starting berth last season, returns behind the plate and in the leadoff spot. Her strong arm should discourage opposition base runners. Except for Gussis, the infield in comprised of juniors: returnees Jen Zudonyi and Kristina Dayback at shortstop and second base, respectively, and Megan Yetka, the third baseman. Another junior, Amanda Kapsales, is the right fielder, and sophomore Tiffany Hsu is in left field. Lefty-hitting Marissa Marra, also a soph, will see action at first base and in the outfield. “We have a solid infield and strong pitching,” Schutt said. “Our goal is to work as a team and gain the skills to compete with the top programs.” Holmdel was scheduled to return to play yesterday against Red Bank Regional, and is scheduled to take on Raritan tomorrow in Hazlet. Hornets need to rebound from a season-opening loss to SJV last_img

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