After losing five starters, including all-State third baseman Brenna Martini, Ludlowe head coach Shari Paci is challenging her team this spring to push each other hard and look to better last season's 15-5 record.

"Our motto this season is `raise the bar.' We've all agreed to become one percent better every day and push one another," Paci wrote in the 2015 prospectus for the Citizen. "We refuse to be lazy and content with where we're at. We are going to strive for excellence on and off the field."

Seniors Katie DeCarlo (catcher) and Brigette Anderson (pitcher) will captain the Falcons this spring while returning players Brittany Romero (pitcher), Alice Nelson (shortstop) and NeNe Capeles (third base) will bolster the lineup.

"We're going to have a new look this year," Paci wrote. "We will look to be aggressive at the plate and produce runs with a strong lineup. "With the combination of talent, work ethic and determination this year, we can win evet game we play."

Ludlowe is coming off winning the FCIAC Central Division title and capturing the No. 4 seed (14-4) in the FCIAC tournament. The Falcons advanced to the Class LL second round, beating New Milford and losing to Cheshire.

At Warde, the Mustangs are coming off an 11-9 season, losing to South Windsor in the opening round of the Class LL tournament. Head coach Gary Quiricone will be looking at captains Brianna West -- a first-team All-FCIAC player in 2014 -- along with Richelle Barone to provide experience and leadership.

Along with West and Barone, the Mustangs will look to Gabby Natoli (an All-FCIAC honorable mention selection last season) and Emma Houghton as Warde looks to fill several positions and stay competitive in league play.

The Mustangs went 9-9 last season, finishing fourth in the FCIAC East and missed out on the league tournament. Quiricone feels that Warde can contend for one of the top eight spots this year.

"We have a veteran core group coming back," Quiricone said in his prospectus to the Citizen. "I am confident we will have another excellent season with a strong showing in the FCIAC and state level."

Despite a 9-11 regular season record, Notre Dame-Fairfield made some noise in the Class S tournament, beating Norwich Tech and University before losing to Thomaston in the quarterfinals.

Second-year coach Ron Barber is hopeful that the Lancers will do even better this season.

"Qualifying for the states with a higher seed than last year (23rd) along with qualifying for the SWC tournament are our team goals," Barber said in his prospectus to the Citizen. "The keys to our success will be consistency at the plate and in the field throughout the season."

All-SWC performer senior third baseman Becky Stefanatos returns as one of the team's captains, along with junior outfielder Mackenzie Dobbins and junior shortstop Emily Schofield while three sophomores -- pitcher Madison Letizia, catcher Dayneira Artis and second baseman Shelby Nolan -- will give Barber experience despite starting just their second season of varsity softball.

Barber said that the Lancers could open the season with four sophomores and two freshmen in the starting lineup and admitted that he "doesn't have much varsity depth" but what he does have for the first time is a JV program, which will allow his to develop more players.

"This is a great group of players that I expect to make up the core of the team for several years to come," Barber wrote. "For the first time in several years we are going into a season with most of the team intact and ready to go."