UA Wildcats softball
Coach encourages Wildcats to get louder as postseason looms
At Wednesday night's Arizona softball practice, head coach Mike Candrea felt there was something off about his team.
Two days before Arizona played Harvard in the first round of the NCAA Regionals, Candrea was concerned about his team's level of quiet. He said it was an emotion that he hadn't experienced in a long time, as he prepared the Wildcats for the postseason.
The tournament begins Friday at Hillenbrand Stadium at 4 p.m. and concludes Sunday.
"Quietness before competition scares me," he said Thursday. "I've never had a team that didn't have someone that was the igniter. But this is a really quiet team."
"So last night, I made them a promise that if they weren't talking, I was going to make them run some drills. And you should've heard it. It was very loud in this stadium for the first time. The energy was good. We did a couple life situation drills, and it was very good. There was passion out there."
Arizona heads into regionals with a 40-16 regular season record, ranked 10th in the nation. They take on the Harvard Crimson (36-14) at 6:30 p.m. on Friday as their first-round matchup.
"For the first game, no matter who you are and how old you are, there's going to be some jitters," Candrea said. "So you want to try to get through those things and settle down and get back into game mode."
"For us right now, it's always been how we're playing. If we execute in a game, then I think our chances are good. There's not much else you can worry about."
Harvard has won its last 10 games and is led offensively by Kasey Lang, who owns team-highs in batting average (.444), doubles (20), homeruns (11) and RBIs (65). Starting pitcher Rachel Brown has a 1.90 ERA and 291 strikeouts.
"The tough part at this point is not having a lot of video," Candrea said. "I've tried to look up clips online, and there's just not much there at all. When you play a Pac-10 team, there's a lot of footage that you can study. But outside of it, there's not a lot out there. So when you don't know much about your opponent, you really just have to focus on what you do well."
"One of the things I've found over the years is that it's important to take care of what you do moreso than worrying about your opponent. Do what allows you to be successful. You know, Kenzie Fowler isn't going to change her game plan. She's going to throw what she throws. That's the same for us offensively."