NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. On the first day of Ursuline varsity softball practice, seniors Mary McCabe and Jamie Carfora took their usual positions during stretching. McCabe and Carfora realized, immediately, that they were no longer on the outside circle. The duo would now be inside the circle running the stretching exercises, because they were the lone seniors and new leaders.
Ursuline graduated eight seniors from last years Section 1 Class AA finalist team, leaving McCabe and Carfora to carry on the tradition. Currently, all eight seniors are playing in college, highlighted by Taylor Pirone, who is at Fordham.
It was really strange not to have them, McCabe, a New Rochelle resident, said of her former teammates. It is going to take some getting used to, not having them.
Jamie and I have to get used to being the leaders for the younger girls like the seniors were for us.
McCabe, who will attend Lafayette and play softball next year, and Carfora are joined by juniors Brittany Mitchell, Essence Savinon and Lauren Filardi as Ursuline's returning core group. However, it is McCabe and Carfora who began taking a leadership role during open gyms over the winter.
The senior tandem have become Ursuline coach John Pirones unofficial assistant coaches. They are working with the new players, preparing them for their maiden voyage on varsity.
Some of the younger girls did not know what to expect, because they never had coach Pirone, McCabe said. The younger girls are good athletes and very versatile. I like that our outfielders, who have never played outfield before, were able to adapt to the position after just a week of practice.
Carfora is the only player returning to her position. McCabe, a three-year starter at second base, moves to shortstop, replacing Brittany Mitchell, who steps into the circle. Savinon will be catching Mitchell, and Filardi will be in the outfield.
If the opposition expects Ursuline to take a step back this year because of the graduating class, McCabe thinks it will be a mistake.
Ursuline has always been held in high regard for athletics, McCabe said. We have a new type of excitement. It is the excitement of the unknown.
We have good potential to go as far as last year, if not further. I am excited to see how it plays out.
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