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Lady Gators strive for success

| Friday, March 16, 2007

The 2007 season will mark a new beginning for the Geibel girls softball team. The Lady Gators will feature a new coach and plenty of new faces heading into the season.

The team is under the direction of Ed Smith, who takes over for former coach Bill Gardner. Smith is familiar with the team, having served as an assistant coach to Gardner for several seasons.

His initial impression of this group of Lady Gators is a positive one.

"I think they've got a great attitude," Smith said. "They are willing to learn, and it will be easy to teach them because they want to learn."

Smith will be assisted by coaches John Mongell, Rich Carbonara and Alice Matrunics. The coaching quartet has started to mold the team, and a foundation will be the returning lettermen. Seniors Sabrina Szabo, Marion Laurion and Katelyn Hunyady, as well as junior Mia White, all have crucial varsity experience.

But there is little doubt that the molding of the team is still a work in progress.

"When you get down to it, just about every position is open, and we're trying to fill them," Smith said. "We're going to put the players in the best positions that we feel is good for the team."

Two positions that don't require a lot of deliberation are pitcher and catcher. The battery will be new this season. Sophomore Chelsie Laskosky, a transfer student from Beth-Center, will see the bulk of the workload on the mound. She is taking over for graduate Carrie Gessner.

"She can really bring the ball," Smith said in reference to Laskosky. "This girl can throw it fast and she is a good athlete. She is a knowledgeable pitcher."

Laskosky will be pitching to catcher Nicole Ardabell, who replaces graduate Beth Novotny behind the plate.

"Ardabell has the desire and she wants to catch," Smith said.

Aside from Gessner and Novotny, the Lady Gators will have to find a way to fill spots left open by graduates Liz Sunseri (center field) and Katie Betler (first base). But despite these losses, optimism is high.

"I'm excited about the season," said Szabo, one of the team's senior leaders. "We have a lot of new girls, so it should be interesting to see how everything comes together. I think we'll do well working together as a team."

Last year, the Lady Gators finished with an 8-8 record and missed the playoffs after losing in the season finale. This year, Smith is hoping the team can take that next step toward success.

"There are some nice ball players here and if we put them in the right positions, they can go a long way," Smith said. "The potential is there."

Geibel will again compete in Section 2-A. The Lady Gators open the season with a visit to Mapletown on March 27.

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