Robert Morris Softball Looks to Continue Momentum From Last Season


Alaina Koutsogiani dives into home plate against IUPUI on April 17, 2022 Photo credit: Cameron Macariola

Hope Beatty

The Robert Morris softball team is looking to start up this season just as hot as it ended last season.

Head Coach Jexx Varner and his team are coming off a successful season that saw the program’s best start in its history.

“We started last year 9-1. We had a really great start. We’re in a really great place,” Varner said.

Going into this season, the Colonials will have to fill quite a few leadership roles as they graduated six of their players last spring.

“We had a great group of seniors and we graduated six and all of them in different forms had really big impacts on our team and our roster. Taylor (Rhinehart) was a big piece of that,” Coach Varner said. “What she did in the circle as a pitch and what she did at the plate were phenomenal. Erika Bell was awesome for us last year and Alaina York started every game in center field for us I think actually for the last couple of years. So I think Kristyna Mala, Brittney Seibert, and Madison Shiderly all played major roles either on the field, off the field, or in the dugout (were all) really big roles and big shoes to fill.”

With the void left by the seniors, the Colonials will turn to their younger players to step up into leadership roles early in their careers.

“It creates the opportunity and that’s kind of the way this group also views it. As an opportunity for people to step up and fill roles and take ownership of their progression and their next steps and who they are as ball players and young women. I think that also they helped this group learn a lot and grow as well. So this group here in ready to succeed and take the mantle for those who graduated last year.”

Throughout preseason meetings, practices and workouts, Varner has seen those roles filled by several different younger players.

“We’ve got a leadership structure within our program and I think Dana Vatakis, Avery Winchell, and Jane Garver were all pieces from that leadership group from last year and they really have continued to step up,” Varner said. “But one of the things that have really been cool to see is our junior class kind of take those next steps and mature into those leaders and fill those shoes. And I think also the sophomore class really have viewed themselves as a group that can help and lead as well because there were a lot of them who got significant time last year and are going to have a lot of impact on our program and you add that with Jane, Dana, and Avery. We’ve really got a good leadership structure within the team. I think the group as a whole has stepped up to fill those shoes for sure.”

Varner and the RMU softball team are ready to get this season started as they are eager to roll into the upcoming season with the same momentum that they had at the end of last year as they ended the Horizon League tournament with a record of 4-2.

The Colonials placed second in the Horizon League preseason poll, just behind defending champion Oakland.

“We’re really looking forward to it. The preseason poll just came out and we’re excited for people to recognize our success on the field and starting to recognize our success in the Horizon League.”

The Colonials will have 16 Horizon League matchups throughout the course of the season.

Robert Morris looks to start their season on a high note at the Runnin’ Bulldog Classic in Boiling Springs, N.C on Feb. 10 at 1 p.m. against Austin Peay.