The St. Lukes softball team is loaded with youth -- and confidence. Despite there being just one senior on the active roster and several players having moved to unfamiliar positions based on the needs of the team, the players are optimistic they will have success in 2010.

This was going to be a young team to begin with, and when one of the team's two seniors, catcher Leah Risom, suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury during the fall field hockey season, the veteran leadership got reduced that much more. Risom is out for the year but doing what she can to help head coach Camille DeMarco-Havens and assistant Troy Haynie work with the players in practice.

"I look forward to helping out a lot," she said.

First baseman and captain Ellie Werner is the lone active senior on the roster. A four-year team member, Werner certainly doesn't lack experience but is new at her position, having shifted across the infield from third. Junior Maria Carlucci plays second base and shortstop. Juniors Lily Holland and Megan Flood will play third and center field, respectively. Holland moves from the outfield to third.

"I'm very excited. This is my first year in the infield," Holland said. Flood is joins the team after playing spring soccer a year ago.

"I'm pretty excited. It's going to be a great year," she said. Junior Jenna Decatur moves from the outfield to her position behind the plate.

"A lot of players are new to their positions," DeMarco-Havens said. Despite this, Carlucci thinks the team is strong throughout the field.

"We have a really strong infield and outfield. I feel very confident with our ability," she said.

Carlucci added that something that stands to benefit the team is a spring training trip to Florida. Because of the inexperience of several of the players, nine team members went south for several days and got in some extra playing time to help gear up for the campaign. This normally hasn't been the luxury of the softball program; in the past, while other sports traveled, it stayed at home.

Returning sophomores, pitcher Shannon McDonagh, outfielder Nikki Bennett-Fite and outfielder/infielder Kelly McGuire, along with sophomore newcomer Bria Yarborough, an outfielder, are players who should be factors this year.

Freshman pitcher Janay Parrott enters the campaign as the starter. Shortstop Casey Kelly, outfielder Jenny Price and outfielders Ana Graczyka and Maggie VanMunching join the new-look team.

Last year's graduates were pitcher Julia Ward, first baseman/ pitcher/ catcher Caitlin Wood, shortstop Rachel Brittenham, outfielder Deidre Loftus and designated hitter Meghan Marsal.

"I lost my battery of players," DeMarco-Havens said, not speaking strictly of the pitcher-catcher battery but of the bulk of the overall strength of her team. "Not only were they my battery defensively, they were my battery offensively."

That said, DeMarco-Havens' goals this year are not based on wins, losses and specific tournament success.

The team went 7-3 last season and reached the semifinals of both the WNEPSA and FAA tournaments. It was a great season -- but this year is about gaining experience to get back to that point in the future.

"My goal is for us to do the best we can in every game and be in every game we play," the coach said.

King, Holy Child, Greenwich Academy and Rye Country Day are all formidable teams St. Lukes will have to deal with.

"We've got some really good competition," DeMarco-Havens said.