By Patrick Hennessy - Shore Sports Network contributor

When Matawan softball head coach Bob Dubina took the helm last season, he inherited a program that had predominantly not had much success.

The foundation for a great team was there, as many young players stepped into big roles and helped lead last year's team to a 14-10 record. This year, those players have matured and improved, and the Huskies have jumped out to a 10-2 start. This has been one of the best seasons at Matawan dating back to 2004.

Senior captain and ace, Erin Powers, has led a dominant pitching staff this season, racking up an 8-2 record and registering well over 60 strikeouts. The Felician College commit has been a four-year starter and said that this year's team has something special about them.

Senior ace Erin Powers has been outstanding for Matawan in the midst of its best season in more than a decade. (Photo by Patrick Hennessy)

"I think everyone's learning how to work together and put forth a great attitude and a great team effort, which has led to this year's success," Powers said.

Also anchoring this year's pitching staff has been sophomore Jessica Veary. After missing her freshman season due to injury, she is 2-0 with 17 strikeouts, including a complete-game shutout with 10 K's against.

"Playing under Erin has been great," said Veary. "I get to learn from her for a year, and then I hope I can use what I've learned during the next two years to be successful."

At the plate, the Huskies have been led by junior captain Sam Buchman, junior Hadassah Curry, and sophomore slugger Lauren Conroy. Buchman is the leadoff hitter and always seems to get herself on the basepaths, where she uses her speed to cause trouble for opponents.

"Coach Dubina has really impacted our team since he came in," said Buchman. "We've really worked hard, which has to led to our success, and he preaches that."

Junior Hadassah Curry is batting .577 with two home runs and 19 RBIs this year. She is the anchor of the lineup in the clean-up spot.

A big story on this year's team, however, has been Conroy. Despite being an underclassman, she has embraced the role as a team leader and one of the Huskies' best players.

"I'm really just enjoying the ride,'' Conroy said.

Conroy has hit .667 with 7 home runs and 20 RBIs. The latest homer and three RBIs came against Red Bank Catholic on Wednesday, when she belted a walk-off three-run bomb in a 3-2 win to advance the second-seeded Huskies to semifinals of the Monmouth County Tournament.

Although those players have played vital roles in this year's success, the main aspect of this team is the team as a whole. Freshmen Mary Denardo and Amanda Hunter, sophomore Jen Lloyd, juniors Tracey Brereton, Gab Caponigro and Sami Boyne, and seniors Shannon Sansone, Taylor Murphy, and Maddie Malanga have all made a huge impact as role players this season.