WKU Softball: Hilltoppers prepping for season-opener on Friday

WKU begins the season versus Missouri State in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU Softball head coach Amy Tudor addressed the media prior to Monday afternoon’s practice to preview the Hilltoppers’ 2019 campaign. Entering her sixth season at the helm of her former program, Tudor gave a position-by-position breakdown, while discussing goals, expectations, leadership and more.

“I really like this team; they’re a good group of young ladies who have really accepted challenges this fall,” Coach Tudor shared. “I really enjoy seeing them. I know that sounds crazy, but I do think you’re a better athlete if you enjoy coming to work every day. I think you’re a better coach if you enjoy coming to work every day.”

Tudor and company are set to open the season this Friday, Feb. 8 in the Sand Dollar Classic, which will take place in Gulf Shores, Ala. An experienced squad, WKU graduated only one starter and returns 13-of-15 letterwinners from a year ago.

The 2019 squad features five student-athletes in their final seasons on The Hill including Cassidy Blackford, Rebekah Engelhardt, Kelsey McGuffin, Shannon Plese and Jordan Vorbrink. Blackford redshirted her first year at WKU but will exit at the same time as her fellow four-year teammates, Engelhardt and McGuffin. Vorbrink enters her second season with the Hilltoppers after playing her first two years at Louisville. Plese is a redshirt-senior addition who has made stops at Chattanooga State CC, South Carolina and Tennessee before spending her final season with the Tops.

“We are focusing on the process of getting better at softball every day and being a great teammate and becoming a great leader,” Tudor continued. “One of the goals for me as a coach, which I really look forward to when working with young ladies, is when you leave here, are you going to be a leader when you graduate from Western Kentucky University?”

More than half of the WKU Softball roster, 10 student-athletes to be exact, hails from the Bluegrass State. A pair of those players are hometown products in Shelby Nunn and Kendall Smith. The remaining nine come from Alabama, Indiana, Iowa and Tennessee.

WKU has 24 home contests on the slate this season, including the 2019 Hilltopper Classic at the WKU Softball Complex. The Hilltoppers’ home-opener will take place on Saturday, Feb. 16 with a doubleheader against Western Illinois.

QUICK HITS

  • The Hilltoppers will play at the WKU Softball Complex 24 times this season
  • WKU will take on two squads ranked in the Top-25 Preseason Poll (Kentucky and Auburn)
  • Two Hilltoppers hail from Bowling Green, Ky. – Shelby Nunn and Kendall Smith
  • Coach Tudor enters her sixth season at the helm of her alma mater and owns a 145-125-1 record during her tenure on The Hill
  • This year’s squad features six new faces including five freshmen and a redshirt-senior transfer.