Preseason ~By: Kim Silva #15

ImageWell… Here we are again. Pre-season. This time of year means long days, sore bodies and a whole lot of sweat. It will be important to push through the fatigue and stress that preseason inevitably brings to test our limits and help us to be stronger athletes mentally and physically. We have two weeks to prepare for our season. For me, they are the two weeks before my last season as a UConn Husky begins. Two weeks until I play in my last ‘first game of the season’. Two weeks until we leave for my last team trips to Florida. Two and half weeks until we, as a team, begin our journey to the Big East Tournament.

According to the Big East preseason polls however, we won’t ever make it there. We are predicted to finish ninth overall in the Big East this year meaning we wouldn’t qualify for the Big East Championship in Tampa. These polls are calculated from coaches votes based on how our season went last year, the seniors that graduated and who is returning.  These votes do not take into consideration the extremely talented freshmen class that arrived on UConn’s campus in August. These votes do not take into consideration the countless hours our team has spent working together to become a cohesive unit. They do not consider our senior class that wants to make the absolute most of our last season together. And they do not take into consideration the talent that has grown over the last year, the drive within this team to accomplish our goals or the determination we have to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. 

What the Big East can’t see in any box score or on any stat sheet is what will set us apart from our competition this year. We, as a team, know that we are talented, determined and invested in making this season successful. We have set our goals high and will do whatever is necessary to accomplish those goals. Every day we strive to be better, faster and stronger than the day before. We will leave it all on the field and prove that we are a force to be reckoned with in this conference.

 

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The Beginning of the End ~By: Amy Deluca #18

The fall of 2008 was a memorable time for me. This marked the first time that I played for a Division 1 softball team; the University of Connecticut’s Big East Softball team. I had spent the majority of my childhood playing softball, all with the dreams and goals to play for a Division 1 softball team and in the fall of 2008, they finally came true. Now, four fall seasons later, I find myself reminiscing on the past. I cannot believe that after all of these years of playing softball, it is all about to come to an end in May. I know that I am speaking not only for myself, but also my fellow seniors when I say that time really does fly.

Throughout my past years at UConn, I have developed lasting friendships with my teammates and have learned life lessons that I will carry with me through my life. Being a Division 1 athlete does not come easy. My teammates and I have worked very hard, pushing ourselves to the limit, in order to be successful and become the best student-athletes that we could be. Although there were many days that we felt as if we would not get past, we always did. I now have the upmost respect for not only my team, but all student-athletes for their dedication to both their sport and school work. The lessons that I have learned and the experiences that I encountered have made be a better person and will help me be successful in my life. Not to mention that playing a Division 1 sport at UConn is always, and will always be a great conversation starter! No matter where I go there seems to always be someone who wants to hear all about playing a sport at UConn.

Going into my final season at UConn, I am very excited to see what the year is going to bring. Although I was not able to participate in our fall season, I was able to watch my team succeed and grow. The girls are very determined and hard working, which I believe will lead to a very successful season. We open our season with nationally ranked Georgia, which will be an epic competition to start off our season. I am also excited to watch my team and participate in achieving our goals, working towards a Big East championship. Though my years have flown by at UConn, especially this year, the memories that I have here are some of the best of my life and will never be forgotten. The lessons that I have learned and the friends that I have made will always remain a large part of me, no matter where I go in life. I am very excited to see what our spring 2012 season will bring and I know it will be one of my most memorable. GO HUSKIES!

Time Flies ~By: Ali Adelman #1

All summer I wondered what it would feel like to finally start my senior year of college. Well, now I can tell you exactly what that feels like. Bittersweet. And a little bit more bitter than sweet. It feels like just yesterday I was a freshman moving into Batterson, and meeting all the other girls on the team for the first time. Carrying a map around campus trying to find my classes; wandering around the field house, getting lost on my way to the locker room. Now, I know this campus like the back of my hand, and there are no more older girls to be nervous to meet.

It’s a harsh reality, knowing I am a senior here at UConn. Realizing I’ve had my last, first day of class. Where did the time go! This past Friday night was my last “First Night”. First night signifies the beginning of basketball season. It is a kind of pep rally for both the girls and boys basketball teams. This year was special because our men’s team won the National Championship last year, and our girls team made it to the Final Four! Gampel Pavilion was completely packed with people who had been lined up outside for hours waiting just to get a good seat. Luckily, a few girls and I managed to get great seats! We had a perfect view of all the players being introduced, the three-point contest, the slam-dunk contest, and a women’s basketball team dance off. It was quite an entertaining night.

Among some other lasts this weekend was my last Homecoming. Almost the whole team got together and went to go watch our football team play its homecoming game at ‘The Rent’ against University of South Florida. It was also very crowded as lots of alumni came back to support UConn Football in its Homecoming game. It was a battle but we came out on top, 16-10! It was a very exciting game and a fun Homecoming weekend, and I’m really sad that it’s my last.

Being at events such as First Night, and the homecoming football game just makes me realize how much I am going to miss all the school spirit that UConn has. The past 3 years have gone by so fast and this one so far has as well.  I have had some sad realizations that it’s my last year and the real world is fast approaching. But I have made the best of every day, and will continue to do that throughout my senior year! I can’t believe this is my fourth and final year in college and that I only have one more season of college softball left. The team this year has worked hard both on the field and in the weight room and we will continue to work hard in our off-season this winter to hopefully have the best season yet. For me and the other seniors we saved the best for last!

 

Our Pack. Our Pride. ~By: Jen Ward #8

One double header down. Many more to go. This past Sunday, we played a game against Eastern Connecticut and Bryant. The first game did not go as anticipated. We lost to “the small school down the street”. I think that loss was good for us, though. We learned very early this year that nothing will be handed to us. Merely showing up to the game will not get us where we need to be and most certainly will not ensure a victory. We came out flat, without any passion to win. We assumed that because we were playing Eastern, we’d win. HA.

When the game was over, I really liked what I saw. I looked around at my teammates, and for the first time in a long time, I saw them pissed off. I knew right then, the next game was going to be better. We decided to take pride in our school and in our team. We weren’t going to lose to Bryant. We came together as a team and we made some noise with our bats. Even with two of our best hitters away for the weekend, we put up 14 hits on the board. Pretty impressive.

I’d like to see us hold onto that feeling we felt after losing to Eastern, and use it to fuel us throughout the year. If we believe in ourselves and in our abilities, and refuse to lose each game we play, we’re going to be a seriously hard team to beat.

Getting The Nerves Out ~By: Lauren Duggan #17

So far, my first experiences of college life at the University of Connecticut have been interesting. My first weekend kind of felt like camp, since all that we did was move our stuff in, meet new people, go to the WOW events and go to the dining hall.

So, we started our first week of class and I kind of got a feel for what I would be learning in my first semester of classes, what I would need for those classes and the quickest ways to get from one class to another within 10 minutes. Then, I had softball meetings and I got to meet the team and coaches. Some I knew from before and others it was a first time talking to them. But, right away everyone got along and were becoming friends. Softball got started and we all worked hard to get what we needed and do it well.

Finally our first games of the fall season quickly crept up. I was so excited to play in my first college game, but also so nervous when it came my turn to pitch. The first game I did not pitch, so I got to watch our sophomore and junior pitchers throw. It was exciting to watch the team win our first fall game.  Our second game I got to pitch four innings. Those four innings were probably the most nerve racking. I did not pitch like I know I can, it kind of looked like I haven’t pitched for a couple days. But, I got through it and I got all my nerves out of my system – well at least for that weekend. Our next weekend games I got to pitch three innings. I felt that I improved since the weekend before. Most of my pitches were working much better and I had a lot more control over my nerves! Then came the time for me to hit and I was nervous. The first at bat I hit the ball and got on base. But my next at bat I hit a hard line drive to the fence and got a double. It was very exciting and gave me more confidence in my hitting! So, all in all the second weekend of games was an improvement personally.

 

On The Road Again ~By: Ali Adelman #1

This is the time of year when all the airports are full of college students flying to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Miami, and all the other typical spring break destinations; their suitcases packed full of bikinis and tanning lotion.  We, on the other hand, were on our way to Georgia with our bat bags and suitcases full of extra softballs, our uniforms, and issued sweats!  (And also some bikinis!)  UCSB is now on our second trip of the season, and currently on a 4 game winning streak!

Last weekend we escaped the tundra of Storrs, Connecticut and flew down to Boca Raton, Florida.  We went from 10 degrees to 80 degrees in about 3 hours!!!  We were able to go straight from the airport to the Florida Atlantic University softball field to practice before our first game the next day.  We needed to get used to a REAL field again, and to deal with REAL sunlight (as opposed to the lights in Shenkman).  It felt great to be back playing on dirt again.  Just ask Andrea Huelsenbeck and Julie Towers, they could probably tell you what the dirt at Florida Atlantic tasted like, they were diving all over the place.  Anyone who saw them probably thought UConn added dirt brown to its color scheme.

If anyone knows the UConn softball team, they know we can eat.  And we ate.  If any of us go to Boca again, we know what deli to go to for a good sandwich.  We ordered subs from a deli called Too Jays three different times, and the sandwiches included about a pound of meat each!  That didn’t bother any of us!  Neither did the black and white cookies that came with them.  We also enjoyed Macaroni Grill, and maybe ate a little too much at The Cheesecake Factory.  But who can resist a piece of cheesecake?  We soaked up the sun, and some girls soaked up a pretty good farmers tan (*cough cough* Katelyn Callahan).  We had a little bit of a rough start, but have been improving ever since.

When we got back to campus Sunday night, no one could wait to get back to the south.  This past week at school consisted of freezing rain and an average of about 3 exams per person.  We couldn’t wait to get back down here to play again!  And here we are now.  Our team was again mistaken for the UConn basketball team at the airport.  We are sort of used to it by now.

We had a relaxed practice at a softball complex on Thursday night to prepare for the tournament, which started Friday.  We were accompanied by some adorable little leaguers, who were there practicing too, and they gave us some sound hitting advice!  =)

Today we broke out our long sleeves for our uniforms for the first time, but were still pretty cold.  But that didn’t stop us!  We hit for a combined 20 runs on the day against the Akron Zips and the Alabama State Hornets, beating them both! Not too shabby.  Hopefully we will keep up the offense for our games tomorrow against Jacksonville State and UNC Greensboro and for the rest of our spring break.

GO HUSKIES!