NFCA Hall of Fame softball coach George Wares loves a challenge.
He’s the winningest coach in Division III history. But even Wares conceded that, with a record 10 seniors gone from last year’s NCAA regional champions, 2016 wasn’t the ideal time to tackle the nation’s second-toughest schedule.
However, according to the Division III power rankings, that’s what the young Dutch had to endure and they did so successfully with a 23-15 mark, while falling just short of yet another NCAA tournament berth.
Better timed was the arrival of junior transfer pitcher Karly Olson, who was 16-15 with a 2.77 earned run average and 138 strikeouts in 159.1 innings. She was also among the team’s top sluggers with a homer and 20 RBIs. Sophomore left fielder Tabitha Taylor hit .357 with a team-high 40 hits, two homers and 20 RBIs. She was a second-team all-region pick while Olson was a third-team choice. Shortstop Paige Schreiner was Central’s lone senior starter.