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Why Peyton Schnackenberg Transferred To Villanova

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(Photo courtesy of Villanova Athletics via Boston College Athletics)

Last November, it seemed like Peyton Schnackenberg was done playing softball. She’d accepted a medical device sales job with Johnson & Johnson’s orthopedic medical device company and moved to West Chester, Pa. A six-inning outing against Virginia Tech on April 30 that ended with nine earned runs and a loss would stand as the senior’s final game after four years of college softball—one at Syracuse and three at Boston College.

But two weeks after her final game, she put her name into the transfer portal. She wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the sport just yet, Schnackenberg said. If there was one place you’d like to play your final year, BC head coach Amy Kvilhaug asked Schnackenberg, where would it be?

“I want to go to Villanova,” Schnackenberg responded. “It has a top-ranked business school, and a top-ranked softball program. If Villanova offered me, I would go there in a heartbeat.”

Schnackenberg, now at her third school in five years, is looking to continue her success as a starter that came to fruition during her final year with Boston College. Villanova was an option for Schnackenberg out of high school, when she was a 2018 PGF All-American and helped her team to the State Sectional Championship the year prior, it just didn’t extend an offer.

A few weeks after Schnackenberg entered the transfer portal, Villanova head coach Bridget Orchard reached out and invited Schnackenberg to do a tour. Riding around campus in a golf cart with Orchard and pitching coach Chelsea Plimpton, Schnackenberg “just fell in love.” Schnackenberg likes to have a city close to campus, but wants the actual university to be smaller and more rural. Villanova is close enough to Philadelphia—around a 40-minute drive—that the city can be an option for students, but it’s far enough away that the campus is in its own little area.

Over lunch with Schnackenberg and her parents at The Refectory, a restaurant near campus, Orchard offered the graduate senior a spot on the team.

“I got that offer, my heart was just kind of set on Villanova,” Schnackenberg said. “About four days later, I called, committed and canceled visits.”

Schnackenberg knows there’s more she can accomplish as a softball player. She started her final year at Boston College going 7-2, with losses to Charlotte and Texas, where she gave up a combined five earned runs. She’d worked all preseason to ensure that she had two go-to pitches that she relied on and saw success with. There were glimpses throughout 2022 of the kind of dominant ACC pitcher she could be.

Her early season success “fueled (her) fire” heading into the Eagles’ game against then-No. 2 Florida State. The Seminoles entered the first game of their doubleheader against BC on March 20 with just one loss on the season, while BC came in with just one conference win. Schnackenberg took the circle against FSU and proceeded to work her magic. Schnackenberg finished the day with eight shutout innings pitched, allowing just four baserunners throughout the game. The only hit she relinquished came in the sixth inning on a ground ball that caromed off her leg and dribbled into the outfield.

“I've kind of shown myself and proved to myself that I can play at this high level,” Schnackenberg said. “I just want to build off of it.”

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