Remembering Our Beloved Scrub, Peter Looney ~By: Kim Silva #15

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In my first few months at UConn, I only ran into Coach Looney a few times.  He worked closely with the pitchers and catchers but wasn’t around every day at practice (as a 1.5 hour commute on the Mass Pike stood in his way.)  However, once preseason and season started, he became another voice of knowledge and experience day in and day out.

You could always count on coach Looney for a story, a joke or simply a smile.  With his immense understanding of the game, he could help no matter what kind of situation you found yourself in. Whether it was pitch count, base running, game strategy or random rules and regulations; Looney knew it all.  Coach Looney was a person that always stressed the importance of a team’s communication and togetherness.  He reiterated time and time again that an individual’s decisions and actions on the field can affect the entire course of a game.

In my first tournament as a Husky, I was playing third base in a close game against Minnesota at Florida Gulf Coast.  In an early inning, I let a ball drop in foul territory that I should have caught.  In my mind, it was just one more strike for the batter. It turns out that this would not be the case. That same batter, later in the at-bat, got a base hit and ended up scoring what would turn out to be the go ahead run. Upon entering the dugout after the inning, I got an earful from Coach Looney.  To this day, I remember that play and how much Coach Looney instilled in me that night that every single decision I make in a game will affect my teammates and our success somehow, in either a negative or positive manner.  He instilled in me the notion that everything we do as players on this team reverberates throughout the team and shapes the outcome of an inning, a game or a season.

Off the field Coach Looney just enjoyed the ride. Traveling the country with 20 plus college girls and an all female coaching staff for three straight months every year would drive most men insane.  But Mr. Looney always had a good time and just embraced the experience of being able to watch us develop as a team from game to game.  He was our comic relief, Washington D.C. tour guide, source of obscure trivia and the first one to remind us that we were all just a bunch of SCRUBS!

After decades on the field Looney never lost that passion and love of the game.  He passed a little bit of that desire and drive on to all of us, and for that we are grateful. I feel privileged not only that I got to play for him but that I got to know him as a person. He truly was an amazing man who will be missed very much by everyone involved in the UConn softball program. As we dedicate our upcoming season to Coach Looney we will bring with us the memories, love, laughs and warm smiles he helped us to create along the way.

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!

 

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.

 

Becoming a Husky ~By: Emily O’Donnell #7

It is hard to believe that I have already been at UConn for one month. It honestly feels like only a week ago I was saying farewell to my family and hello to my freshmen year at college. I was excited and eager to start this new chapter of my life, but a little nervous, as well, because I was not really sure what to expect. The first weekend at school was an eventful one because of Hurricane Irene. This extra day with no classes gave me the opportunity to get to know my other freshmen teammates along with other people in our building. This was sure a memorable way to start off college. Once classes started I realized that college was not going to be easy; it was going to take a lot of hard work and dedication to be a strong student athlete here at UConn, but I felt I was up for the challenge!

The first week consisted of going to all of my new classes and listening to what type of expectations the professors were going to have for us students this semester. We also had our fitness testing, which I was very nervous about because I was not sure what to expect. The first day of testing we did a circuit. My partner, Amy Vaughan, helped me and encouraged me throughout the whole workout giving me the strength to push through to the finish. The energy of all of the girls on the team throughout the workout was so positive and encouraging that it made me realize that, although we may have just met one another, we are a team. Once testing was over we started to get into practices. This year we had to earn our UConn gear and when I did, I was very proud to wear UConn Softball across my chest because I now felt like I was officially part of the team.

This weekend we have our fall opener against the University of Rhode Island. I am very excited to play as a team for the first time and see all our hard work at practice translate into the game. Also, many UConn alumni will be coming to play in the alumni game after we are done playing. It will be exciting to see former UConn softball players come back and play on the field where they enjoyed their college careers. After a month of being a student athlete, I am starting to feel like I am truly becoming a UConn Husky!

Adjusting to Life as a Freshman ~ By: Julie Curran #22

When I first got to college, I couldn’t have been happier about what was about to be the next four years of my life. People told me these would be the best four years of my life, and your freshman year will be easy because it’s like a repeat of classes you took in high school. And, to top it all off, classes got pushed back a day due to a “hurricane”. I had the greatest time that weekend making new friends, not worrying about homework and realizing I had so much freedom without my parents there. But, right about the second week it all started to hit me – 8 a.m. classes, taking six classes which equals out to more credits than most other people have to take, homework, three hour practices, and now mandatory study halls. It all comes down to time management. Being on the go all day is worth it though because I know I’m learning important values for later on down the road, such as time management, getting in a routine and learning how to be more productive with my free time. Playing softball has also taught me an additional lesson about hard work and dedication, and how you have to earn your spot because it will no longer be given to you.

I treated my summer softball workout like it was my job because I was expecting to be pushed hard this whole season, not only with softball but also with strength and conditioning. But, when that first day of circuits came…I was in for a huge surprise. Being one of seven girls without any official UConn practice gear, this year everyone has to earn their gear, it was the old fashioned way of working hard and leaving it all on the field (well technically in the gym because it rained the first couple days of practice).  Pushing myself everyday was tough because I was nervous since no longer was I the captain of three teams, had people looking up to me and I was once again “The Freshman.”  The circuits were meant to keep your heart rate up and see how much you could push yourself. Luckily, I had Kiki as my partner who was a huge motivator, and so were all the other upperclassmen who were cheering me on from a couple stations down. The energy was great. At the end, my body felt like it had just run a marathon, I was exhausted. And my teammate Emily pointed out that technically we had only worked out for six minutes….it felt like an hour. And as the week went on I kept feeling the pressure to earn my gear, while during the week other players were starting to get theirs. I was just trying to find little ways to try and stand out and being last but not least. On Friday I finally earned my gear. Being the last to earn their gear taught me how important it was to push yourself, and even if you think you’re working hard are you truly pushing yourself 100%? That is a lesson I’ll carry with me for a long time in addition to time management. I’m looking forward to the next couple months to see just how far I can push myself physically with softball.  Knowing that I have great teammates behind me and mentally with school, and I’m excited to say I’m doing it here at UConn.

DRIVE FOR SUCCESS ~By: Kiki Saveriano #24

Yesterday, I had that familiar pit in my stomach, the one that always presents itself on days I know will end in physical and mental exhaustion. Testing day. This is the day where we have to prove to our coaches and each other that we worked hard this summer to keep up our strength and agility. The one thing I found myself repeating as my mantra was, “just try not to die Kiki, that would be super embarrassing.” Preparation never seems to be enough, and I am reminded why I am so grateful to be part of the UConn softball team. The tasks that once seemed so daunting were accomplished smoothly with the support and tenacity of my teammates. I was paired with one of our incoming freshman, Julie [Curran], and seeing the look of uncertainty on her face immediately took me back to my first testing days two years ago. I gave her knowledge that was instilled on me when I realized I was in over my head, “you’d be surprised how far your body can be pushed.” And together, as a unit, we pushed each other to that limit and finished our circuit.

These ethics of hard work that we are learning completely dismiss the notions that athletes have it easy, that we are given everything right off the bat and it is because of that that we succeed. This year, the softball team, along with many other UConn athletic teams, was presented with the challenge to earn their gear. Unlike past years where we are given our clothing on day one, the girls have been carrying a bag around with practice clothes because our new outfits are locked away in our locker room. They may be behind locked doors but they are not out of reach as we are the ones that control our outcome. We are not taking this challenge lightly and we are going to work hard and prove that we deserve to wear the UConn name proudly across our chests.

With our fall schedule coming up, I anticipate this drive for success will carry over on the field for a successful and high-energy eight games. One thing that has been incredibly consistent over the past couple years is our ability to come together as a team, on and off the field. We have found that amazing balance between business and pleasure, nothing ever inhibits our ability to be competitive teammates and great friends. Once we are able to harness that energy and use it positively, we are going to be a force to be reckoned with.

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!

Where Your Treasure Is, There Will Your Heart Be Also ~By: Kiki Saveriano #24

Now that the team is preparing for my second season here as a Husky, I am beginning to understand the phrase, “time flies when you’re having fun”. Personally it has been hard for me to comprehend how I could already be more than halfway done with my sophomore year at school because it seems like not too long ago I was getting to know the girls that I now consider not only my friends, but my family. It feels as if just yesterday Britt (who I now consider my better half) and I were awkwardly walking around campus on our first day at school looking for our classes trying so hard to start conversation about anything and everything trying to fill the silence. Needless to say there is rarely silence that has needed filling since.

Another fond memory that us sophomores constantly revisit is our first impressions of each other. I knew Britt because we played together our sophomore year of high school together on a tournament team but two years had passed and our only encounter since involved an agreement to room together and a slightly uncomfortable high five. Later Britt introduced me to Kim at a tournament because they played together their senior year, but again, it was a very brief encounter. In our first week together Kim would be the only one that would talk during our “get to know ya” sessions in her room over Mario Party on her Nintendo 64. The first time Dana and I met was when she moved in. I will never forget my mother looking at me after I came back from using the bathroom and saying, “that’s Dana, right? She just carried three crates of perfume into her room…” Jess I knew nothing about despite great effort to stalk her on facebook. Britt and I decided to take a clumsy stand and go introduce ourselves. When she opened the door she was wearing a scream-o band t-shirt, had an industrial piercing that covered half her ear, and was putting up a poster that, well, lets just say I giggled uncomfortably when I saw it.

That night being the good teammates that they are, everyone was invited to an apartment and I met the rest of the team, and although my introverted personality may have initially prohibited me from being immediately open with everyone, I knew I wanted to be part of their clear love for each other. Every single teammate of the team has helped me in some way to become a better person and a better softball player. Almost a year and a half has passed since our first day together and one day hasn’t passed since where I haven’t talked to at least one of them.

Despite our evidently different personalities, we all grew very close through hard work and dedication to our team. Going into my first year was perhaps the most stressful and comfort-zone-shattering time of my life, but because I knew I had such a close support system of friends my transition into a division 1 softball player went smoothly. And going into our second year together not only does our chemistry grow, but so does our team confidence. The new freshman class has come in seamlessly and I feel nothing but that same sense of closeness to everyone on the team. I could not ask for better teammates to place my trust with.

So going into this year has been exciting and nerve racking, because although last year was memorable and fun, there is always room to improve and grow as a team and an individual player. And to quote a movie that I recently watched, “the bad news is that time flies, the good news is that you’re the pilot”.

 

Growing Up At UConn ~By: Amy Vaughan #9

When I first arrived to UConn, I was ready for an entirely new world. It was the first time I would be leaving my parents’ home and living out on my own. At first, everything was great; I could stay up as late as I wanted, I got to see my friends everyday and classes seemed like a piece of cake. However, after a couple of weeks went by, I started to get a little lonely. We (all of us freshmen) missed our families and friends from home and we began to realize just how much adjusting needed to be done. Luckily, there was one constant that had stayed in our lives – softball.  Softball was something everyone could relate to. Practicing and games was what scheduled our time and it required the utmost commitment and responsibility day in and day out.

As a freshman, I wanted to do anything I could to get myself out onto the field, earning myself a starting position, even if that meant learning a position that I had never played before. I learned that I needed to sacrifice my own opinions for the better of the team. Coaches expected the best out of us everyday and I knew I had to give it everything I had to get myself out there.  Freshmen year taught me a lot about what it meant to keep working and getting better, even when sometimes I wanted to give up. What I learned the most from that year was that not everything comes easy and sometimes it’s not always exactly what you expect.

Looking back now as a junior, those years seems like such a long time ago. I have spent so many hours at practice and on the field that sometimes it all blurs together. However, those lessons that I learned my freshmen year have never been forgotten. Even after having a good sophomore season, I knew that nothing was ever guaranteed.  I always have to work hard and expect the best out of myself. UCONN Softball has taught me life lessons that I will forever use in every part of my life.

Like I said earlier “sometimes it’s not always exactly what you expect”. This pertains exactly to how I felt when I needed to shovel my driveway at our house off campus the other day.  When we first got this place, it seemed like a home away from home. It was cozy and it was nice to come home to at night after a long day. I never considered the mounds of snow we would be getting this winter. But as I grow up, I’m learning to appreciate things a lot more. For example, how much my parents shoveled my whole life compared to the small amount I ever did. I love them very much for that. Also, I’m starting to realize that my time at this school is limited and I need to get the best out of every day and every moment I get to spend on the field.