As the Michigan softball team looks to reset and retool for the 2023 season after a disappointing fifth consecutive NCAA Regional exit, it will have to do so without another one of its key pieces.
Just hours after senior right-hander Alex Storako posted on Tuesday that she would not be exercising her extra year of eligibility with the Wolverines, senior catcher Hannah Carson announced her departure from the Wolverines via Instagram.
After four years with Michigan, Carson retains one year of eligibility due to the extra year granted by the NCAA due to the COVID-19 pandemic, should she choose to transfer and exercise it.
Carson did not specify her future plans in her announcement, though multiple reports state that she has entered the transfer portal as a graduate transfer.
In her time with the Wolverines, Carson established herself as a three-year starter behind the plate, commanding Michigan’s defense. As she held down the catcher position, she steadily increased her output at the plate, leading to a breakout season in 2022 where she earned second team All-Big Ten honors.
During the 2022 season, Carson started 49 out of the 56 games, slashing .329/.367./503 throughout her campaign. Carson led the Wolverines in RBIs with 37, while ranking second among qualified batters in hits, extra base hits, slugging percentage and home runs. Carson also contributed significantly on the defensive side, catching 10 runners stealing and fielding at a .993 clip.
Though Carson’s departure certainly leaves a void to fill, Michigan appears primed to replace her production next season. Sophomore catcher Keke Tholl appeared in 31 games this season and will look for an expanded role. The Wolverines also bring in the No. 1 catcher in the class of 2022 with incoming freshman Lilly Vallimont.
With Carson leaving, Michigan now will lose at least two of its three seniors who hold a fifth year of eligibility. The Wolverines now await senior outfielder Lexie Blair’s decision on whether she will return.
But regardless of other departures, with the loss of Carson, Storako and fifth-year left-hander Meghan Beaubien, the core of Michigan’s defense will look drastically different next year.