Howard Softball brings in new season with historic start

Lady Bison pitcher Mia Gonzalez takes to the mound against Tennessee. The Bison played the Volunteers at the Nationals Youth Academy on March 11, 2024. (Badi Cross, HU News Service)

By Badi Cross

The Howard University Softball team broke records and reached milestones during its preseason schedule. 

The team is now first in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and will begin the regular season with its March 11 game against the Tennessee Volunteers.

The team has won 16 of its first 22 games this year, making it the best start to a season the program has had since head coach Tori Tyson joined the program in 2018. 

The newfound early success included a program record-breaking 11-game win streak, which broke the record of 10 wins in a row during the 2022 championship season.

 Coach Tyson’s 100th career win came during the historic streak. Just before the win streak, the team also secured a victory against Big East opponent UConn.

Before Tyson became coach, the Lady Bison had concluded the season with only eight wins.

Tyson said the teams have collected winning records in each of the past three seasons, but none of those teams had as good of a start as this year’s team.  

She said her teams typically had slower starts.

“One thing that we haven’t done since I’ve been here is play good softball early,” Tyson said. “We don’t have a consistent place to practice, so we usually use the preseason as our practice. What I’ve liked is that this year, we have found a way to play our brand of softball early.”

“To me, winning is a product of a lot of different behaviors and people making the correct decisions every day,” Tyson said. “Sometimes making the hard choice. There’s nothing easy about being a Howard softball player, and so I think the 100 wins is a byproduct of making a lot of hard choices.”

According to junior pitcher Mia Gonzalez, the changes and choices that made this start possible have come from within.

“We’re playing more like a family this year,” Gonzales said. “We trust each other, we trust our preparation, and we’ve been working really hard. We’re playing together as a whole. That’s how we were able to have the success we’ve had.”

The success of the 11-game win streak reflects the success the team has had under Tyson in the past few seasons, as the record they broke was set during the team’s 2022 MEAC Championship season, their first since 2007.

Chevonne Mansfield, executive senior associate athletics director at Howard, shared her excitement about more wins during conference play.

“They have some good wins under their belt,” said Mansfield. “They swept all the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) teams, beating UConn, being close with UCF, a run-rule win against Seattle, and they’re going to continue going along with that process towards the MEAC Championship.”

Howard begins their regular season against North Carolina Central University on Saturday, March 16.