Most college sports teams dream of winning one national championshp. At Rock Valley College the softball program is about to go after a fifth straight national title.
That mission begins Thursday in Rochester, Minnesota in the NJCAA Division III Tournament.
It’s only been done once before…a junior college softball team winning five consecutive national titles.
“I think that there was a Phoenix team in the Division II ranks and there was Central Arizona that did it in the Division I ranks, but the most amount of national titles in a row out of any level has been five in a row, so hopefully we’re on pace come Saturday that we get an opportunity to break that as well,” says RVC head coach Darin Monroe.
The Golden Eagles have won 48 games and they’ve lost eight this season. They’re deep with talented again in the field and in the circle.
One of those talented players is freshman Courtney Fernette from Stillman Valley. She has a .457 batting average with 12 home runs and 61 RBI. “I honestly feel the reason I’m hitting so good is because the teammates in from of me are getting on, so that makes me feel like I need to do something and score them,” says Fernette.
“I feel like this year we have a lot more role players than we did where last year we had the big hitters and stuff like that,” says sophomore outfielder Emily Cox. “Now we all just have a role player so we all come together as a team.”
Despite the fact the Golden Eagles are the four-time defending champions they aren’t the number one seed this year. They’re the second seed behind Herkimer County of New York.
“That’s a really big motivator just because we know who we are and we’ve worked so hard throughout the offseason and just throughout this season to get where we are,” says freshman pitcher Breanna Crown another former Stillman Valley Cardinal. Crown tops RVC pitchers with a 16-3 record and a 1.91 earned run average.
“We’re disappointed that we’re not number one but we know that we lost eight times this season,” says Cox. “It’s kind of hard for us to deal with not being number one just because we’re used to that.”
The Golden Eagles will begin their championship quest in the double elimination tournament Thursday at noon against another New York team Suffolk County. It’s a rematch of last year’s national championship game.
“We’re going to have to respect that first round opponent where maybe in years past we got to go into that first round thinking, ‘Okay we’re better than this team,” says Monroe. “We don’t know a whole lot about them other than the fact that they’ve got a freshman pitcher that’s doing pretty well.”
The national tournament runs Thursday through Saturday.