When Caroline Cubbage became Randolph’s head softball coach last year, she knew the team had many of the elements it needed to be successful. But with no seniors and only one junior, the young team was struggling to rebuild itself.
“I really harped to them that if you can get to the ODAC tournament, you can win that tournament,” Cubbage said. Her team responded, surprising opponents—and themselves—by finishing with the best season in the program’s history and earning a spot in the ODAC Championship game for the first time ever. “I told them that I wanted them to enjoy the moment,” she said. “Winning would take care of itself if they worked hard and if it was meant to be. But no one had expected them to get that far. Anything they did after that point was just a bonus.”
The team lost the title matchup, but Cubbage quickly used that defeat to focus her players on the future. “Winning wasn’t something they were used to,” Cubbage said. “Getting a taste of that last year helped them start believing in themselves and what they could accomplish. They had something to be proud of, but it was a teaching tool for me. We got almost to the top of the steps, but we tripped at the end. Now they had to think about what they needed to do to make that next step obtainable.”
This year, Cubbage has seen a renewed sense of determination and unity from her group. And the hard work has begun to pay off. The team had the best start in its history and is looking for another shot at the ODAC title. “They know we have the chance to win everyday if they make the routine plays and execute things in the way we want offensively,” Cubbage said. “I expect a lot out of them, and I push them, but I am extremely proud of them as a group and as individuals.”