The CSU softball team is looking to begin a new era with a new head coach, assistant coach and a lot of new players.
The transition has been refreshing, giving everyone a sense of equality and team unity, said shortstop and team leader Caitlan Stem.
There isnâ€™t a feeling of seniority because one player is a freshman and another is a senior. Everyone is equal, Stem said.
The Rams will begin their fall season Sunday, hosting Western Nebraska Community College and the University of Northern Colorado.
All three teams will play each other once starting with CSU taking on Western Nebraska at 10 a.m.
Following, Western Nebraska will play UNC at 12:30 p.m. The finale will be CSU against UNC at 3 p.m.
â€œOf course we want to win, but we are really excited to see how we come together as a team this weekend,â€ Stem said.
With nine freshmen on the team, Sunday will be more about the squad getting to know each otherâ€™s playing styles and learning how to work together, said Jen Fisher, first-year head coach for the Rams.
Fisher was the 2010 NCAA Division II Coach of the Year at Metro State University, bringing success and experience to the program.
CSU has a lot of talented freshmen that work hard and the returning players have set a good example for their younger teammates, Fisher said.
Seniors Caitlan Stem and Ivory Allen and junior Kelli Eubanks will lead the team.
â€œThey are natural leaders that have the respect from their teammates,â€ Fisher said.
Stem has started every game since her freshman year at shortstop and considers herself a leader and an impact player, so she understands the responsibility of being a leader.
Part of being a leader, she said, is helping identify the â€œCSU softball mentalityâ€ for the freshmen â€“â€“ a mentality of working hard, treating teammates as family and giving everything to win.
â€œWe have a lot of appreciation for what we do and we give it our all everyday,â€ Stem said.
Sports reporter Nick Childs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.