When Lori Treiber won her 300th game as a coach a few weeks ago, the accomplishment didn't even cross her mind.
The fourth-year Northwest Cabarrus softball coach was more concerned about how her players had finished an impressive turnaround of their season and had just defeated one of the top teams in the South Piedmont Conference, Mount Pleasant.
"I was just excited for the girls - for the seniors - because of the way they had played," said Treiber, adding that she only thought of her accomplishment later that night.
But that 300th win didn't come without a fight. After leading the Tigers on senior night, they caught up and tied the game in the seventh inning. With two outs left, Treiber's Trojans pulled it together thanks to a Taylor Greene's triple to right field that scored two runners - Michaela Boyd and Taylor Allen.
After losing seven players - six starters to graduation and one who moved out of the state - from last year's 16-6 team that finished second in the North Piedmont Conference and made it to the state playoffs, Treiber considers what the team accomplished nearly monumental.
What her team did was even more impressive considering that nearly half of her junior varsity players left for Cox Mill High when it opened in the fall.
"We were definitely the underdogs," said Treiber. "I knew I had talent coming, but I didn't know how they would work together."
But she wanted to set high goals for her team - to make it to the 3A playoffs again and to finish first or second in their new conference.
Their season got off to a great start when they defeated North Mecklenburg, one of the favorites to take the 4A crown, 7-1.
But as conference season got under way, the Trojans struggled and started 2-5 in the SPC. Treiber admits that she started to get a little nervous about her season, but not because she thought her team wasn't capable of winning games, instead because her team was starting to doubt itself.
"I was afraid they would be resigned to the fact that losing would be OK," said Treiber.
That's when Northwest began to regroup, going back to basics and adopting a new philosophy - "It's OK to be beat, but it's different to beat yourself."
Northwest Cabarrus won their last seven conference games and their first game in the SPC tournament before losing to eventual champs Jay M. Robinson in a close 3-2 ballgame. All of the sudden the Trojans had grabbed the last conference playoff bid.
Treiber said coaching this team - in her 16th year as a softball coach - has been gratifying.
She began coaching even before she graduated from Appalachian State, where she was a pitcher for the Mountaineers. While student teaching at Avery High, Treiber helped coach the school's JV volleyball squad.
The biology teacher added that she has stuck with coaching because she believes athletics are important and because she enjoys getting to interact with her students outside of the classroom.
"I love watching the kids grow, work hard and succeed," said Treiber, explaining that it also give her the opportunity to influence their lives.
"It allows me to teach them about life, responsibility, team play and to always put others in front of themselves."
Treiber arrived at Northwest four years ago after having taught and coached at North Meck in Huntersville for 16 years. She decided to take a job in Concord because she wanted a challenge.
"I just felt like it was time for a change," she said, adding that making the move was a good decision.
"People always say the grass isn't always greener of the other side, but it's been always green here for me."
Treiber, who is now 301-101 in her career, already has high hopes for next season. Only losing two seniors this season, she anticipates a better season for her Trojans.
"Expectations will be high for us," said Treiber. "I just hope we can live up to them."