Virginia Softball Preseason Blog

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM Stephanie Harris
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
Stephanie Harris
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

Jan. 27, 2014

Members of the 2014 Virginia softball squad will be sharing their thoughts on the upcoming season, how practice is going and much more. The Cavaliers open the season in a tournament at USC Upstate Feb. 7-9.

Thursday, February 6 - Senior Stephanie Harris

Hoos ready to rumble!?!

Hello! My name is Stephanie Harris. I am #32!!! As you have read, the team has been working very hard. We have come a long way, and are eager to start competing! We appreciate all your support and are looking forward to seeing everyone at the games. You are in for a surprise. We will be competing with twelve athletes. Some of you may be thinking, “Twelve?,” but we are versatile, conditioned, and ready to unleash the inner beast. It’s time to put on a show! As our coach always says, “Find a way!”

The time has finally come to load the bus for our first preseason tournament. Let the fun begin! 

Wednesday, February 5 - Freshman Lindsay Mayer

Hello everyone! Lindsay Mayer here! I am a first-year shortstop/pitcher (never thought I’d say that combo after high school)! I hope you are all as excited as we are to finally get this season underway this weekend in South Carolina! Only one more day until we travel, and I for one am wicked (Rhode Island thing) excited! I cannot wait to compete in my first collegiate softball season especially with teammates by my side! Although it may not seem as if 12 players is enough to have a successful season, we have worked harder than ever before at practice, getting into the mindset that we have to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Preseason has gone great despite the cold weather. Yes, the weather is still cold to me even though I am from R.I. Practice has recently consisted of lots of intersquad scrimmaging, and all I know is I am ready to get out on the dirt and show our opponents how far this team has come!

Coach Miller has done everything possible to help us understand that WE define the game and WE define our own success. This has required us to take ownership for everything we do both on and off the field. Whether it be morning lift, class, practice, tutoring, you name it, we have somehow found a way to fit it all into our hectic days! Being a UVa student is no easy feat, but like we have heard time and time again, “Find a way!” 

My countdown has officially begun until we arrive at Boston College on April 26th! I cannot wait to be back near my hometown and see my family and friends! 

Can’t wait to see you guys supporting us at The Park this spring! Until then, stay warm! GO HOOS!

Tuesday, February 4 - Junior Megan Harris

Hi everyone! This is Megan. I am a third-year majoring in psychology and special/elementary education. I’m staying very busy this week with all my homework and upcoming tests. As the beginning of the season starts, it is very important for us to get ahead on all of assignments. We work hard in the classroom and transfer it to the field.

Only two more days till we open up against Eastern Michigan! The team is getting very excited as it gets closer. Today’s practice was a bit chilly, but we still got a lot of work in. We began by taking batting practice. Again, we focused on committing to the ball with our front side. We also practiced hit and runs. A little later, we did the 21 out drill, in which we take the field and Coach Miller hits pop ups in between us. We must catch 21 of them in a row. Afterwards, we broke up in to two teams and played a line drive game. Each team got one point for hitting a line drive that fell beyond the infield dirt, two points for hitting a line drive that one hopped the wall, and five points for hitting a line drive that went over the fence. The team that lost had to go find all the home run balls that were hit. Games such as these help build team unity, as well as ignite our competitive spirit.

We hope to see you all at The Park this spring. Go Hoos!

Monday, February 3 - Freshman Iyana Hughes

Hey Hoos! Iyana Hughes here. I am a first year from Northern California, who’s currently interested in sociology and women gender studies. When I’m not in the classroom, you can catch me and my team on the field. During practice, I have been focused on getting “my barrel to the ball” while hitting, and getting better reads of balls off the bat while fielding. I cannot wait for the season to start (I even have a countdown), and I am especially looking forward to going back to my home state for the Mary Nutter Classic. I am excited not only to be back in my home environment, but hopefully to experience some nice weather as well.  

Today was an off day, so we each spent the day preparing for the upcoming away trip. I met with my teachers for the classes I will be missing, and I also met with our academic advisor, Heather Downs. Other members of the team did similar activities, and enjoyed the day to themselves. I also spent the extra time getting ahead on the work due next week. UVa has some amazing places to study. My favorite is the McGreggor Room in Alderman Library, which some students call “the Harry Potter Room.” After doing our own thing during the day, the team convened at the Athletic Dining Hall at John Paul Jones Arena for dinner. 

In the mean time have a great week and Go Hoos! (3 more days!!!)

Sunday, February 2 - Sophomore Taylor Sarcone

Hi! This is Taylor #25, also known as Scone or Quasi. I am a second-year outfielder hoping to get into the Curry School of Education. Preseason is going great! Fortunately, we’ve been able to take advantage of the awesome new indoor football field so we don’t lose any days of work during this cold winter. As crazy as it is that we already start this week, we are all so excited to finally use what we’ve been working on for so long. 

This preseason I’ve really been focusing on hitting details and I’ve been having an amazing time flopping around and diving for balls in the outfield! I’ve learned so much these past few months and I’m so excited to see our team come together and enjoy this season. Can’t wait to travel! Bring on the chaos!!

Saturday, February 1 - Freshman Kinza Baad

Hey Hoos! I always get excited when winter beings to turn into spring, for that means that a new softball season is right around the corner. I cannot wait for this season to begin, especially because I've dreamt about being a Cavalier since I was a little girl. We've all been working extremely hard, and we cannot wait to shock the softball world. Today was a beautiful day in Hooville, with temperatures in the 50s, so we scrimmaged some more, which is a great way to see live pitching, work on our communication, and become more comfortable playing as a team. The main idea of today's practice was playing aggressively, and not to even think of failure. 

As the season looms closer, the focus off the field has been on getting ahead in class, so that we are prepared for the craziness that is the month of February.  I am a first year from Washington DC, plan to major in history and then plan to go to law school. I don't plan on being a lawyer, however, I want to become a MLB General Manager. That's one of the amazing things about coming to play softball at a school like Virginia: one can receive an amazing education in any field they wish, while still playing softball at a high level. 

Our first home games are the weekend of March 8th! Hope to see you all there! Wahoowa!

Friday, January 31 - Sophomore Aimee Chapdelaine

Hi guys, Aimee Chapdelaine here! I'm a second-year pitcher from sunny south Florida. Playing here in the Virginia cold is something else, but I absolutely love it! There's really no way to describe these last few weeks of preseason except for "chaotic," as Coach Miller likes to describe it. The more chaotic practice is and the faster we work the more relaxed and controlled we will be when we get to game day. The speed and way in which we have been working definitely keeps us on our toes every day at practice. Although we have been limited in space, we are extremely thankful to be able to work in the beautiful new indoor facility and still get reads off the bat even under the weather conditions we've been subjected to. In short there is not a day that we aren't excited to go to practice, so I' sure you can imagine how excited we are to get out there on game day and see all our hard work turn into results.

Even though there are only 12 of us, the game speed and intensity is going to be something unique and exciting. That's one of the things I am really excited to see, especially because I know how close we have all become. Playing with 11 other people you trust and support brings something unexplainable to the table. I hope y'all are excited because we are ready and anxious to play!

Thursday, January 30 - Senior Karli Johnson

Eight days until the season kicks off `Hoos!! I can't tell you how excited my teammates and I are to finally get out on the dirt and show everyone how far we've come. The intensity our team brings to the field day in and day out makes me that much more excited to start competing with some new opponents! We've really come together as a team, especially over the past few weeks, and it has been awesome experiencing that first hand.

We've been continuing some interquad scrimmaging in the indoor facility, as well a lot of hitting work in the cage since this cold and snow seems determined to keep up inside! No practice is ever the same, and we've definitely adapted to the variability that each day brings. Each person is constantly changing positions, and that has been really helpful with communication as well as the general athleticism of our team. "COMMIT" has pretty much been the mantra of our offense, but it also plays into everything we do. We go all out every day, and it's certainly going to be difficult to stop us when we play our game!! As one wise man might say "We know what we do when we do what we do".

We hit the road in a week, and I'm anxious to see the culmination of all of our hard work and intensity! Can't wait to show all of you what we're all about!

Wednesday, January 29 - Freshman Madison Labshere

Hello everyone! I hope you all have your jackets and blankets packed because it's going to be a cold season! Coming from San Diego, the weather has definitely been a huge adjustment to get used too. For example, instead of walking to class in shorts, a tank top, and flip flops, I have been layering up in pants, shirts, jackets and sporting a nice pair of boots to top it all off. It never occurred to me that the weather could be below 50 degrees, let alone 10 degrees. Even though it is really cold, I am thoroughly enjoying the snow (don't tell my teammates). I built my first snowman in the fall, although it might have been small, it was still fantastic. I find myself preparing hot chocolate before I leave my dorm everyday and wishing I had a fireplace to cuddle up next too. Good thing we will be going closer to my home soon, to Palm Springs!

Even though the weather is rough, that hasn't stopped us from getting our work in! We have been practicing hard everyday, getting a little better as the weeks go by. Under Coach Miller we have been learning to define the game and take control - meaning we are taking control of the game and playing at our speed, whether that means we must slow it down or speed it up. This season we will take the game into our hands and allow the game to see us as we really are, champions. Even though we only have 12 players, we will not be underestimated.

We are all very excited to get the season rolling in South Carolina next week! I cannot wait to compete in my first collegiate softball season, but I know it is going to be tricky. Although we aren't lifting as much as we were in the fall, we still have morning weight lifting, our academic classes, practice and then tutoring sessions at night. Talk about a full schedule! UVa is not one of the top public schools for no reason. 

I cant wait to see you all soon! Take care and stay warm, but most importantly, GO HOOS!

Tuesday, January 28 - Junior Heidi Velk

Hello all! Heidi Velk, third-year outfielder, here. The 2014 season is fast approaching and I couldn't be more excited! Coming off an injury, I was not able to participate in much softball during the fall. With a new coach and plenty of new teammates, I watched our team grow and mature from an outsider's perspective. At first, I was frustrated that I couldn't learn and participate at the rate that my other teammates were, but I feel like just being able to listen and watch made me a much smarter player. 

Over break, I was cleared to play, so I'm 100% back and ready to rock! The new coaching staff has been a blessing to us all. Although practices are long and hard, they are what we need to prepare for the tough competition ahead. Personally, I have been working on hitting away and being an aggressive batter and all around player. The staff reminds us everyday to go all out and to have fun! We're a little short on numbers on this season, but the team is really getting along and we're all super excited to play in less than two weeks. 

We've been working very hard since day one and can't wait to show everyone how talented UVa softball is. See you all out at The Park!

Monday, January 27 - Freshman Katie Park

Hello all! Katie signing in from the toasty indoors. I am from the sunny (and warm) state of Arizona so this weather is slightly chilly. Just slightly. I am a first year and I am currently interested in Kinesiology. I have been taking several biology classes so the plan is to go on from there! As for school in general, let's just say they don't kid about UVa being one of the top public educational universities in the country. I attended an all-girls private Catholic college preparatory high school that, for the most part, did its job in preparing me for college, but it sure is different! All growing pains aside, this is an amazing university to attend and I am extremely blessed to have the opportunity to be here and wear "Virginia" across my jersey!

I'm really excited to start the season off in just a few short weeks after all the hard work the team has done thus far. Hopefully all of you are just as excited as we are to show you what we've got! Practice since the break has been predominately indoors, both in the cage and in football's indoor practice facility. As much fun is it to be stuck inside while you play an outside sport, I think the consensus is that we are more than ready to get outside on the dirt! February is going to be a heavy travel month so get ready to represent in March with a majority of our games being hosted at home! See all of you soon!
Go Hoos!

Sunday, January 26 - Senior Marcy Bowdren

There is approximately 11 days until our season gets underway! We are all looking forward to traveling down South to play our first opponents of the year and we are also hoping that warmer weather is in our future. During pre-season thus far, we have been lifting weights twice a week and then taking batting practice in the cage for about an hour until heading out to the new indoor football facility to take infield and outfield practice.

This preseason is different from those in the past, because we are no longer limited to the space of the cage. Instead, we have access to a beautiful and massive turf surface, which enables us to get way more done at practice like sliding and diving :) Basically, despite the snow, this indoor football facility makes it so we never miss a day of practice.

With only 12 players this year, everyone is constantly moving around at practice and working hard to get the job done. Depending on the drill, players can go from the outfield to an infield position or even to the circle to do some twirling, as we like to call it these days! Since every player is required to know every position we are always communicating with one another in order to ensure that everyone knows their jobs. Our main focus this year is to play our speed of the game, which won't be hard because once again with only 12 players at practice, we know how to switch things up fast. As a team, we are all anxious to hit the dirt as soon as possible and to get into a groove with one another, that is, where things just become simple and not much thought is involved. Essentially, we are excited and ready to "GO" full speed!