The Retriever softball team is having a good season, and the players are optimistic about UMBC’s chances of going far in America East conference play. Ahead of the team’s preparation for their second conference series against Binghamton, I had a fun chat with freshman biochemistry and molecular biology major and catcher Imani Dawson and sophomore biology major and short stop Maddie Daigneau. They talked about themselves, their relationships with teammates and so on.
Dawson has an impressive nine runs and a batting average of .295 from 30 career games. She has played both third baseman and catcher this year. Daigneau has been doing well too and has been ranked in the top five for batting averages in the state for three years running.
Dawson, who hails from Hanover, Maryland, describes herself as a charming, fun-loving person who can, “eat a whole tray of lasagna by myself.” She cooks, plays instruments, watches Law & Order: SVU in her spare time, and she supports the Washington Redskins. She has really adapted to UMBC softball, and she credits her roommate freshman infielder Anna Lochar, Daigneau and other teammates for their help.
“Maddie helped me a lot in the summertime, always texting me to work out together or to skip workouts to go get a bunny,” Dawson said. “I felt like a part of the team before I came [to UMBC] because I have attended three of the [softball] camps and I was always on campus. Going to another school did not feel right.”
This year Dawson plans to get used to her position being changed from second baseman to catcher. She wants to help the team go far in conference play because she has confidence in their ability.
“I think we can go pretty far,” Dawson said. “We just need to have more confidence in ourselves.”
Dawson also had high praise for her teammate Daigneau.
“Maddie is a hard worker, a very high achiever, and she pushes herself and her teammates a lot [to be the best].”
Daigneau, who grew up on the ocean side in Arizona, is a Cardinals fan, because, “I have to represent.” She hikes and binge watches “Grey’s Anatomy” in her spare time. She has six dogs and two horses that she loves spending time with. She loves to eat sushi now as her tastes have evolved from her mac-n-cheese days as a kid. She has become good friends with sophomore pitcher Valerie Hammett and junior outfielder Mallory Pollack.
Daigneau, who considers herself a leader in the team, describes herself as a truthfully blunt person. She says she is happy with how her freshmen teammates have worked hard to help the team.
“I do [consider myself a leader],” Daigneau said. “My goal is to help everyone be and do the best they can, to be the best teammate I can, be the best player and to help push people. The freshmen have really stepped up and worked hard, they have all improved from the fall and I think they are going to have big things come for them.”
She had some advice for new students planning to play softball for the Retrievers next fall.
“Do the summer workouts!” Daigneau stated. “If you do not, you are going to be so sore. Be prepared to push yourself [to be the best you can be], or you will make people mad.”
She does not like to overthink anything before a game but she does carry around a special item for luck.
“I usually always have my yellow ribbon with me [before games] since high school,” Daigneau explained. “Except I lost it!”
Both Daigneau and Dawson ended by saying they are working hard to have a great season. They also want to be good examples for younger kids so they implore parents to bring their kids out to games.