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Taking an Early Lead

Softball player is likely youngest Cavalier captain

Abby Snyder Jim Daves

Abby Snyder (Col ’10) wanted to be an impact player on Virginia’s softball team, and an impact player she is—and she’s only getting started. “Being named captain helped me accomplish something that was important to me,” says Snyder, who in December was voted by her teammates to serve as one of four team captains. The Cantonment, Fla., native is believed to be the only first-year student-athlete ever to be named a team captain at UVA.

She earned the honor after a strong fall preseason camp that saw her win the starting third-base job. “Abby’s a hard worker, and I think the kids really gravitated toward that,” says softball coach Karen Johns, who also has been impressed by Snyder’s approach to the sport. “She’s very mature for her age—very intuitive about the game, always wanting to learn more about the game.”

Johns puts Snyder in the “leader by example” category. Snyder agrees with that assessment and says that she hopes to be able to become more outspoken in the future.

Her coach’s main concern right now is that Snyder might be pressing too much under the weight of living up to her billing. Through 49 games, she was batting just .158 and had committed 16 errors.

“It definitely is a little bit of an issue for her,” Johns says. “She’s struggled at the bat at times—and I think that’s because in her mind she’s letting the team down if she’s not perfect every time she gets to the bat.”

Snyder, though, declines to make excuses. “I think everyone on our team expects the best out of each other every day, whether they’re a captain or not. And I think we all expect that out of ourselves every day. So I don’t think being a captain puts more pressure on us, because we already put pressure on ourselves to give it our all every day.”

At the end of the day, “‘Honored’ is the word that I would use to describe what this means to me,” Snyder says, “and it was because of my teammates. Accomplishing goals with the help of teammates is how the whole game goes anyway.”