College Sports

‘Nothing is impossible’: 36-2 Boston University softball team hoping to make some noise in NCAA tournament

“I wouldn’t necessarily say we’re an underdog, but I definitely think that people tend to overlook us.”

Boston University softball won the Patriot League Tournament. Robert Branning/BU Athletics

As the Boston University softball team enters the NCAA tournament, the 36-2 Terriers understand that they’re a lesser-known entity than other teams in the Stillwater Regional such as Oklahoma State and Mississippi State.

They don’t seem to mind, and they’re eager to make sure college softball fans across the country hear from them before they come back to Boston.

“They don’t know much about us, so we’re trying to use that as an advantage and make sure that no one underestimates BU,” sophomore infielder Caitlin Coker said. “I wouldn’t necessarily say we’re an underdog, but I definitely think that people tend to overlook us.”

BU recently wrapped up its third consecutive Patriot League regular season title and followed that up with its third straight conference tournament triumph. The Terriers, who are making their 11th NCAA tournament appearance, earned the 3-seed for the second time in program history.

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They’ll face second-seeded Mississippi State (33-23) this Friday, at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN3, in the programs’ first meeting since 2000. The Terriers, who last won a tournament game in 2014, are determined to make this run last even longer. They currently have the second-longest winning streak in the nation at 18 games and are hitting their stride at the right time.

“It feels amazing,” senior ace Ali DuBois said. “I can’t believe it’s finally here. We’ve been waiting two years for this.”

Ali DuBois is 25-0 with a 0.89 ERA this season. (Matt Woolverton/BU Athletics)

Last year, before the COVID-19 pandemic derailed their season, the Terriers started 14-8 and believed something special was brewing. Head coach Ashley Waters called it “devastating” but said it made them appreciate how much they truly loved being around one another and competing.

“We realized not to take anything for granted,” said Waters, who is in her sixth season at BU. “We knew we had a really great start last year, and it was going to be a really great year. We didn’t get to finish it, so we wanted to prove that it wasn’t a fluke and that’s really who we are.”

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DuBois said that when they grinded all offseason, all fall, and all winter, it felt like it was for nothing when the season was canceled. The work they put in then has paid dividends this season, however, as the Terriers quickly established themselves as contenders once again.

This BU season is a bit different than others in that the team has only competed against schools from the Northeast. The trip to Oklahoma will actually be their first flight as a team since March of 2020. 

A 36-2 record isn’t quite as telling as it might be in some other years, due to an easier schedule, but 36-2 is still 36-2. Coker, who is hitting .410 and is 17 for 17 stealing bases, said there’s a collective sense of excitement knowing they finally have a chance to prove themselves among the elite.

“We work so hard, and we’re very proud of what we’re capable of,” Coker said. “Nothing is impossible. We have a shot in every game, and we’re looking to win every game we play, no matter who we’re up against. We think we have a pretty good shot at this Regional.”

Caitlin Coker is hitting .410 on the season for the Terriers. (Matt Woolverton/BU Athletics)

One main reason why is the sterling play of DuBois, who has a 25-0 record and 0.89 ERA on the year. The right-hander doesn’t necessarily overpower hitters as much as some other aces, but she’s crafty and is capable of keeping them guessing and off balance. 

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Coker said DuBois has a “kill mentality” when she pitches. She knew how talented DuBois was right away, yet her consistency continues to “drop everybody’s jaws.” Jen Horita, Nicole Amodio, and Abington’s Lauren Keleher, among others, have also been key contributors this year.

DuBois said not knowing whether their season would be canceled at any point made the Terriers fully appreciate each game along the way. She believes they peaked during the Patriot League Tournament and are playing their best softball when it matters most.

“Having your eyes on that Regional goal, it’s crazy what it can do,” DuBois said. “We’ve been grinding for this for so long. I think everyone really wants to make the most of it.”

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