Softball Team Wins Fifth Consecutive Patriot League Regular Season Title, as Conference Tournament Begins
No. 25 ranked squad wins tournament opener, plays Friday against Lehigh
Just when it seemed like they were running out of records to break, the Boston University softball team had another historic campaign.
With a near-perfect conference campaign (17-1) and a Patriot League record 28-game win streak, the Terriers have won their fifth consecutive regular season title. They are also the first team to win all six major conference awards—including Coach and Player of the Year—to go alongside their program’s record-tying 10 All-Conference honors.
Although their success has earned the Terriers hosting rights and the Patriot League tournament’s top seed, 2023 Coach of the Year Ashley Waters (Wheelock’22) says her team is entering the playoffs like it’s a whole new season. And with a new attitude, after a disappointing loss in last year’s tournament despite a dominating regular season.
“It’s been a really fun ride,” Waters says. “Obviously we’ve had a lot of wins and a lot of different people have had really incredible moments, so I think there’s just been a lot of celebrating each other, which is really nice. The next three games is almost a new season, it’s just kind of a chance to reset and refocus.”
BU will do battle with the top-four finishers this season, No. 2 Lehigh (17-2), No. 3 Army West Point (10-8), and No. 4 Bucknell (8-10). The tournament will be a three-day, double-elimination format, beginning Thursday, May 11, and running through May 13 at the BU Softball Field.
“The thing about the tournament is, once you make it, you have nothing to lose,” Waters says. “And I think that’s a scary thing. Whoever’s hot this weekend is the team that goes on, so you’ve got to be on your A game and you’ve got to be playing your best softball. The thing people don’t realize is it’s difficult to win a regular season, it’s even more difficult to win a tournament.”
Last season, the Terriers fell in the Patriot League final to Lehigh in consecutive games after finishing the regular season 16-2.
This year, however, the Terriers got the best of the Mountain Hawks, winning two of three games in Bethlehem, Pa., to conclude the season May 6 and 7. With both teams undefeated entering play, BU won the first two games to clinch the regular season title and the conference record 28-game win streak. However, Lehigh bested BU 3-2 in Sunday’s matinee, keeping the Terriers from finishing with a perfect conference record.
“I think for us, you learn more from losses than you do from wins,” Waters says. “I think sometimes with wins you ignore things that went wrong. It was good to be able to address some things and feel like there’s some stuff that we have to work on in the next couple of days to get ready.”
Waters earned her third consecutive and fourth overall Patriot League Coach of the Year award in her eighth season at BU. Waters is not the only repeat winner. Kayla Roncin (Sargent’24) was named Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. She won the regular season triple crown—leading the league with a .434 batting average, 51 RBI, and 9 home runs—in addition to leading the league in five other statistical categories.
“Kayla Roncin is one of the best hitters I’ve ever seen,” Waters says. “She’s just absolutely gifted. There are some kids that you just get to sit back and watch do their thing. As a coach, it’s an honor to watch her play and get to be on field with her during a lot of those celebrations and a lot of those hits.”
Joining Waters and Roncin as conference award winners is 2023 Pitcher of the Year, Allison Boaz (ENG’23), who posted the league-low in earned run average (1.38), and the league-high in wins (22). She would lead in opponent batting average and strikeouts if not for freshman and the league’s Rookie of the Year Kasey Ricard (Sargent’26), who kept hitters to a .171 batting average and punched out 187 batters in 140.2 innings.
Rounding out the Terriers’ clean sweep of Patriot League major awards is Caitlin Coker (CAS’24, GRS’24), who was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year (.992 fielding percentage) and Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
“I love having the opportunity to celebrate different people at different points,” Waters says. “It’s a team of a bunch of different heroes in all different ways, and I think that’s pretty special.”
BU enters the playoffs ranked No. 25, the program’s first national ranking since 1996. BU opened the playoffs with No. 4 seed Bucknell on Thursday, May 11. BU beat Bucknell 5-1, and will play No. 2 Lehigh, who beat Army 5-1, on Friday at 11 am. Should they win, they will face the winner of Army and Bucknell after they play Lehigh on Saturday. With a loss Friday, they still have the opportunity to make the final on Saturday, playing the winner of Army and Bucknell at 4:30 pm Friday.
“We gotta win two or three more—when you have a 28-game win streak, you can figure out how to win three,” Waters says. “I think the offense is gonna play a pivotal role. When we outhit opponents, we’re 40-1. That’s a remarkable statistic. It’s recognized that we have the pitching, we have the defense, it’s a matter of if we can put up runs.”
The BU softball team will continue Patriot League tournament play Friday, May 12, against Lehigh at 11 am. Should they win they’ll play the winner between Lehigh and Army/Bucknell at 12 pm Saturday, with the possibility of a fourth game at 12:30 pm. Admission is free for the entire Patriot League tournament, taking place at BU Softball Field through Saturday. All games will be streamed on ESPN+.