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Q&A with Coach Traci Barrett
What are some highlights of this year that shows your team succeeding, facing a challenge, and supporting each other?
Watching this team grow, get closer than any team we’ve had in my time at PLU, and believe in one another and what it takes to tell the game what you want it to know has been so special. Beating Linfield twice in our series, something no other team in the conference accomplished this year was special, but so were our 3 sweeps this year vs. Pacific, Willamette and U.P.S. and the work we put in to show ourselves that we are capable of being dominant. We had walk-off wins 3 times this season, and so many incredible “moments” throughout EVERY weekend. We feel honored to play this great game and grow as people through the experience. Our post-game chant is simple US. That is all we need, and that is what we are…. US. This is how we have re-defined LUTEBALL that felt lost over the course of the past few years. The offensive season that Erin McGrath and Mari Foster had this year were tremendous and were the toughest “duo” to lead a lineup in the conference. Erin LED the NWC in SLG % (.857), OPS (1.304) and Total Bases (78). In conference play, she was second in RBI’s (36), HR (12), doubles (10), and had an impressive .385 BA & .447 OBP. Mari Foster took over Centerfield halfway through the season and became unstoppable in the Lute outfield! She had a stand out season at the plate as well! She batted .347 in conference play with 35 hits, 28 Runs, and 10-10 in stolen bases! She was in the top 5 in “Hits” nationally all season. Cassidy Conrad, Emma Ware and Amaya Smith’s growth led us in the circle this year. Cassidy’s climb to be her best self all season came to a close with wins against the toughest opponents we face.
What makes your student-athletes special? What makes you feel most proud of your team?
Our student athletes are incredible. They are the most unselfish, committed, positive attitude, loving and serving young women on campus. They truly hold themselves to a higher standard and look to pick up anyone that needs it on a given day. We have embraced an idea that we will have “No Opportunities Wasted” within Luteball. That may be an opportunity to sweep the dugout, talk with a recruit, tutor a teammate, or start in left field. No matter the opportunity we will look at it as if we are blessed and embrace a Championship MindSet to be the best. We know we will fail, but in the failure we have one another to help pick us up. Our campus is learning “what” we are about, and we look forward to continuing that work. I am BEYOND WORDS proud of this team. We also know that no team is “replicated” in any given season, so when they took what our coaching staff was giving them and ran with it, they now see what is possible. I am so grateful for the 30 young women and 8 coaches that made the 2022 season one to put us back on the map of being a strong team in the NWC, and the country for that matter. Sky’s the limit!
How did your team engage with the community this year?
Our team is all over this campus in a leadership role. Our “focus” off the field this season was “Servant Leadership” to all! We intended to show the way of Luteball and become a team that can be counted on, intentional with our time, a “Say yes” group, and the busiest “individuals” we could to make PLU its best. We started small by simply expecting that when we see people we address them… “say Hi”. Acknowledge that we see you… and we are kind, serving young women. Cailey Collado and Molly House had an amazing event called the “First Annual Fall Formal” with the intentional objective of uniting athletics with non-athlete campus members. This was held on campus in October and was an event like no other. HUGE success, and a complete service project with a uniting factor that our team embraced, supported and followed through their leadership. Other service projects we served in throughout the year were: Winterfest, Special Olympics, Operation Christmas Box, PLU Food Drive, Woodland Elementary food drive, Adopt a family for Christmas. Our final service project was a FREE youth softball clinic for South Hill Little League that took place after our Linfield series. It was an amazing event after a 4-game weekend that truly was the motivation to not focus on ourselves, but continue to give back and grow the game through our team and service to others.
Looking ahead, what are you most excited about for next year?
Looking ahead to next year, we take what we now know about one another, the game, how to move day to day with a Championship Mindset, and elevate. We have some physical needs for our field, our “environment” and we will look to raise money to continue to grow Luteball into the BEST physical environment in the NWC. We look forward to 7 new LUTES to mold, help push, let push us, and share what being a LUTE is all about. Our culture, and the 2022 team knows the “what” it takes, and will be so fun to watch us get after our goals. We have unfinished business and will be ready when next season rolls around.
Save the date: Bjug Day 2023 on October 17-18
Join Lutes all over the world on PLU’s Bjug Day of Giving! Bjug Day is a fun, philanthropic tradition during which PLU alumni and friends come together to celebrate and support what they love about PLU.
To see this year’s Bjug Day results, click here.