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Lions Ready for Spring Break Tests

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By Kelsey Detweiler, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While most Penn State students head home or get ready for vacation with friends and family, the Nittany Lion softball team is getting set for a Spring Break trip that consists of 11 contests in just eight days.

Head coach Robin Petrini and her 2013 roster are headed to the central areas of the state of Florida to compete in two open tournaments in the coming week. The Lions will first be showcased in the Citrus Classic sponsored by ESPN in Kissimmee, Fla. and then travel just a bit west to Clearwater for the Under Armour Showcase.

The two tournaments are not unfamiliar to Penn State as the team traveled to both last season, as well, but the Lions are bringing along a decently large group of newcomers this time around.

8636914.jpegEight freshmen take their first Spring Break trip in Nittany Lion softball uniforms, two of whom are happy to head back to their home state of California.

One of those Sunshine State natives is freshman catcher Karlie Habitz, who is originally from Newhall, Calif.

"A lot of friends and family are going to be there," said Habitz. "I'm really excited to go and see them and I'm excited to be going back to California."

Habitz has quickly made a name for herself wearing blue and white, appearing in six of the seven games the team has played and stroking her first home run in just her second weekend of action. While the move to Pennsylvania has brought its challenges as an athlete, Habitz said that distance and the weather won't stop her from doing what she loves most.

"So far State College softball is indoors so that's a huge change for me," said Habitz. "But to me, it's my sport and it's what I love to do so no matter what weather I'm going to be playing it the same."

Another rookie who has left an early mark on the stats sheet is Ashburn, Va. native Macy Jones. The freshman has seen the field in every contest that the Lions have played and has made five appearances on the mound. Along with throwing 21.1 innings from the rubber, Jones has notched eight hits at the plate, two of which were homeruns.

The 5-foot-4 lefty has proven to be versatile to say the least, but she attributes her quick success to the way her team has accepted her and her fellow freshmen teammates.

"I feel like we're definitely a part of the team," said Jones. "We've all gotten a lot closer and the freshmen class is really close with the senior class and since we're both kind of big classes we mesh pretty well."

It doesn't hurt that Jones is also one of the most competitive new members of the Penn State squad.

"I think if we work hard and we stay focused, we'll do well," said Jones. "I'll do anything to get stuff done and I just don't like losing."

And, according to their head coach, as long as they continue to produce and keep up the strong effort both Habitz and Jones will be seeing quite a few more innings on the dirt.

"It's the way of life in college softball," said Petrini. "When you get to college there is no freshman, sophomore, junior or senior. Those who get it done are on the field and what grade you're in doesn't matter."

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