Ex-Wittenberg softball coach takes over at Wright State

Laura Matthews has been an ultra-successful softball coach at Division-III Wittenberg, finishing first or second in the North Coast Athletic Conference each of her five years, but she’s ready to challenge herself against the top college teams in the sport.

She officially became Wright State’s coach Sept. 26, and though program has gone through some turbulence the last two years, Matthews appears to have the credentials and passion to be a stabilizing influence.

“It was definitely a positive professional step for me,” she said. “Moving forward, I think my personality aligns very well with Division I. I also know Wright State is really invested in softball and making sure it’s a top-flight program in the Horizon League and in the region.”

The Raiders were 21-31 and 14-10 under interim coach Justine Wichman last spring and have had one winning season in the last seven years.

Wichman, who left to become an assistant at Ottawa University in Arizona, was thrust into the top job when Ray Loeser resigned unexpectedly before coaching a game. He had taken over for Lynn Curylo, who left the year before to become coach at her alma mater, UIC.

Matthews was a star catcher at Dayton from 2005-08 and never fared well against the Raiders, going 1-5 in that time.

“It was challenging playing Wright State when I was at UD,” she said. “They had a really great program then. I know what Wright State is capable of.”

Matthews had the program rolling at Wittenberg. She won nearly 70 percent of her games, going 128-57-1. The Tigers reached the 2016 NCAA tourney and won the 2017 NCAC regular-season crown.

She was named conference coach of the year last season.

“Wittenberg’s a great place,” Matthews said. “It was an easy sell for recruiting in a lot of ways. It’s a beautiful campus. It’s a great education. It’s got phenomenal people from the faculty to the staff to students. That had a lot to do with it. People want to be a part of it.

“You’ve got a lot of the same elements at Wright State. It’s got a wide array of academic opportunities. The facilities are top-notch. There’s a great administration, a great athletic department in general. You see some athletic programs that have been successful. I can’t wait to get in and pick the brains of some of those coaches.”

The Raiders will return their top three pitchers in Ally Russell, Ashley Sharp and Lauren Detrick along with star outfielder Honnah Susor, who hit .377 last season and was named first-team all-league and third-team All-Midwest Region.

“We’re pretty young. There’s quite a few freshmen on the roster, but there’s definitely talent there, and I can’t wait to get to work,” Matthews said.

Volleyball: After dropping their first three league matches, the Raiders notched a four-set win on the road against Cleveland State in their last outing.

Freshman outside hitter Abby Backus led the team with 18 kills. Wright State, 7-10, 1-3, hosts Green Bay at 6 p.m. Friday and UIC at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Men’s soccer: Coming off back-to-back double-overtime losses to Green Bay and Wisconsin, the Raiders rallied for a 3-1 home win over Detroit Mercy on Saturday.

A.J. Paterson leads the team in goals with six, while Alec Philippe has three goals and three assists. After playing at Belmont on Saturday, Wright State, 6-4-1, 3-1, hosts Bowling Green at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Men’s basketball: Wright State has come up with a creative ticket package this season, offering 10 ticket vouchers for $100. They’re good for any non-premium sideline seat and can be redeemed at the Nutter Center box office before or on game days.

For info, call 937-775-4934 or email RaiderTix@wright.edu.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Kentucky Basketball: How the Wildcats stack up against the rest of the SEC
Kentucky Basketball: How the Wildcats stack up against the rest of the SEC

We tackle the best question asked by Kentucky fans every day. If you’d like to submit a question, tweet to Kyle Tucker  here and Joe Mussatto  here. Look for the Question of the Day every Monday through Friday.  Hunter Brown asks a good basketball question as league play is just around the...
NFL signs massive streaming deal with major carrier
NFL signs massive streaming deal with major carrier

The NFL and Verizon are teaming up to make it easier than ever to watch football on Sundays. “Verizon will pay approximately $2.5 billion in the five-year deal with the NFL, sources told ESPN. That would be roughly twice the annual price of Verizon’s previous deal with the league,” reported Darren Rovell....
Cincinnati Reds: Votto named Canada’s athlete of the year
Cincinnati Reds: Votto named Canada’s athlete of the year

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto on Tuesday was named Canada’s athlete of the year for 2017. Votto is the 79th recipient of the Lou Marsh Trophy. He also won the award in 2010. »RELATED: The numbers behind Votto’s amazing 2017 season The 34-year-old Toronto native beat out finalists Sidney Crosby (hockey), Mikael Kingsbury...
South Carolina recruiting: Channing Tindall mulling weekend visit plans
South Carolina recruiting: Channing Tindall mulling weekend visit plans

ROEBUCK, S.C. – Four-star linebacker Channing Tindall, one of the top South Carolina recruiting targets for 2018, is nearing his decision. Three SEC schools are the primary contenders for the No. 91 overall prospect in country: Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina. Tindall’s plans, for the most part, remain unchanged...
Alabama football: How will Crimson Tide handle Clemson’s defensive front?
Alabama football: How will Crimson Tide handle Clemson’s defensive front?

The Sugar Bowl  is still weeks away, but we’ll be tackling the best question from Alabama football fans each day. Look for our Alabama Question of the Day every Tuesday through Friday.  Alabama football earned the No. 4 seed in the College Football Playoff. It will be the Crimson Tide&rsquo...
More Stories