Winning seasons are something the UNO softball program has become accustomed to. Since 1988, the Mavs have had a winning season every year and average 42 wins per season during that span.
Before the school year began, there was speculation Omaha softball might have been the program best equipped to succeed in the first year of full-time Summit League participation. Conference head coaches confirmed that belief last Friday when the Mavs were voted fifth out of nine teams in The Summit League preseason poll.
UNO received 38 points in the poll, just two points away from fourth-place Kansas City and six from third-place Western Illinois. North Dakota State received eight of nine first place votes, and is the overwhelming favorite to win the conference with 64 total points.
Putting success into perspective is always difficult. But in the case of UNO softball there's nothing difficult about defining 2013.
When Allie Mathewson stepped into the batter's box for her first at bat of the season, and her first at bat as a Maverick, her shoulders may have been heavy with expectation. The former Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year had an illustrious high school career that included a .542 batting average her senior year and a .462 career average overall.
Mathewson was named the honorary captain of the Lincoln Journal Star Super-State team in 2011, and twice received All-Nebraska honors from the Omaha World Herald. As a freshman at Creighton, Mathewson earned her way onto the All-Missouri Valley Conference Second Team.
But if Mathewson was feeling any pressure, it didn't show. She put whatever weight of expectations there may have been into a swing that sent a pitch over the left field fence.
The UNO Softball team continued its winning ways this past weekend, sweeping both Central Missouri and Southwest Baptist at Claussen-Westgate Field. The four wins moved the Mavs' record to 34-6 and 11-1 in the MIAA.
Head coach Jeanne Scarpello earned her 500th career win as the eighth-ranked UNO softball team ended the Southeastern Oklahoma State Invitational with a pair of wins Sunday.
While waiting for a full Summit League schedule next season, the UNO softball team was fortunate enough to get a conference invite for the 2012 season. After going 3-3 over the weekend at the Great Western Conference Cluster in Farmers Branch, Texas, the Mavs know they'll be playing as the no. 2 seed when the conference tournament comes up in mid-May.