It’s a story that has played out many times throughout history: the underdog defying the odds to defeat an opponent thought to be superior. Last Saturday, the Longwood softball team faced that same challenge when they traveled to take on #16 Georgia. The odds were made steeper by the fact that Georgia had defeated them by a score of 10-2 the day prior.
However, this did not discourage the Lancers. Under the guidance of first-year head coach Dr. Megan Brown, the Lancers matched the Bulldogs in a low-scoring defensive shootout. Longwood held the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning and stifled a late rally from the Bulldogs when centerfielder Lauren Taylor caught the final out of the game. It was official: David had slain Goliath and Brown had clinched her first win as the head coach of the Lancers.
Brown had this to say about the victory, Longwood’s first over a ranked team in three years and tenth since joining Division I, “It was fun. I was really proud of the team. Every single person on the team was contributing in some facet. It was a true team win. As a coach, it was really fun to see all of our young ladies work hard and pull together to earn a win."
Brown knew that this unprecedented win would be a launching pad for the rest of the season, and she spoke about what this means for the team. “It is a testimony to the tremendous young women we have on our team. It is a testimony to all of the blood, sweat and tears that they put into it every day. They continue to put in the work every day and I’m very proud of that.” Brown went on to add that this shows the team that their hard work is paying off.
One of the many players that contributed to the win was Junior Catcher Alexis Wayland. Wayland’s RBI in the third inning helped to preserve Longwood’s lead in such a low-scoring game. Wayland thanked her coach for instilling the belief that an upset like this could be done.
“She [Brown] came out and told us from the beginning that she knew that we could beat these ranked teams and that we could be a top-25 team. It’s what we expected and what we were working for, but it was still overwhelming that we were able to do what we did and pull it off.” Wayland went on to say that such a win increased the team’s confidence against other ranked teams going forward.
Wayland spoke on the added momentum that comes from beating a team like Georgia and what it means for the rest of Longwood’s season. “It sets the stage for other teams to see that we are legit and it makes our opponents scared of us.”
The Longwood softball team will take the field again this Friday, March 6 against East Carolina, their first game as a part of the “Liberty Classic” tournament.