GLEN ELLYN — The 2012 season for the Glenbard West softball team included 22 wins and a share of the West Suburban Silver conference title.
And with six starters returning this spring, that success could be just the tip of the iceberg.
"We feel like we have the talent," said Glenbard West coach Mary McGrane, "we have the experience, we have pitching, we have hitters. The only things that can stop us are injuries and our own mentality.
"We need to get over settling for whatever happens, happens. We have to be more aggressive and take hold of it."
Pitching should be a strength for the Raiders who return Taylor Langtry for her third varsity campaign. She compiled a record of 17-7 as a junior last spring.
"We expect her to lead us," the coach said, "and we expect her to dominate. Her mentality has grown, she understands the position and how mentally challenging it can be.
"She has to be one of the hardest working players on our team. She is constantly trying to get better and improve."
Jacklyn Tyburt, who will play both first base and third base, returns as a top hitter in the area. Maggie Stalker is entrenched at second base, Emi Pavia handles the catching duties and Natalie Noland and Julia Waggoner are back in the outfield. Sophomore Rachel Terwilliger takes over at shortstop.
"Offensively, we have quite a few kids who can swing the bat," McGrane said. "We also have some speed. This year we should be able to play big-ball but also small-ball where we advance on the bases."
To repeat as league champs, the Hilltoppers will have to contend again with Downers Grove North.
"Within the conference, there are teams with definitely a lot of potential," McGrane said. "Downers Grove North is probably going in with the strongest with their pitching combination. But LT has some good kids too and Oak Park."
In preparation for league play, the non-conference portion of Glenbard West's schedule is loaded with tough competition.
"The majority of our schedule is teams within our sectional," McGrane said. "I try to come up with a schedule that challenges us. It shows the girls what they can be and we also see what we are made of."