As good as the Northeast Bradford softball team was last year, they knew there was a lot of talent that was sitting on the bench as well.

They were there, getting ready, waiting for their chance to play.

However, with a group ahead of them that featured seniors Kelsey Carlsen, Nicki Emick, Haylie Phillips, Taylor Keefe, Kelsey Goodwin and Aubri Mosier, there wasn't a lot of playing time available.

Now, that group is gone and yet the Panthers are still there, sitting near the top of the NTL East standings.

"A lot of the girls on the team now were on the bench last year," MaKaylah Holbert said. "We knew that they could play, that if we didn't have some of those girls last year they would have done a good job."

Along with the players stepping into starting roles this year, there are four full-time starters from last year: Holbert, Calla Johnson, Maddy Johnson and Chelsie Souto, who are now stepping into bigger leadership roles.

"A lot of people don't know much about this team, we only have one senior," Holbert said.

"No one knows what we can do," Souto said.

Holbert, the lone senior, knows that her role is a little different now.

"There is a lot of pressure being the only senior, but the juniors are a big group and they help out a lot," Holbert said.

The season started out with the Panthers hosting and winning their own tournament and that gave them a little confidence for this year.

"It feels nice, that we are still able to do well this year," Calla Johnson said.

While there are new faces many of them are juniors who have played with the returning starters for years.

"We have all played together before," Souto said. "We have worked our way up."

While the faces have changed, the players still believe this team is as talented as they have been in years past.

"I think we have as much talent this year as we did last year," Calla Johnson said.

For Holbert there was a lot of preparation to get ready for her senior season.

"I played fall ball and I have been practicing a lot," she said.

A year ago the Panthers made the state quarterfinals, but they weren't happy with the way the season ended.

"We don't forget that," Calla Johnson said.

"We definitely want to get past that point this year," Holbert added.

The Panthers know that they are much younger than they have been in years past.

"We are a young team, but we have a lot of good players," Calla Johnson said.

And, nothing changes with what the Panthers plan to do this year.

"We still expect the same things," Holbert said. "We still have the same goals, we still want to have a good season."