The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Weary Softball Team is Struggling Early

The U softball team is used to having a tough schedule to start the year. Coach Mona Stevens plans it that way to give her team an edge come conference play. But the Utes were hoping to fare better than a 7-19 record.

Struggling to score runs, the Utes were unable to fulfill their goal of coming home with a national ranking by their name.

Instead, the Utes fell to a litany of high-powered teams. Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Boston College and Alabama are some of the teams the Utes couldn’t beat.

Hoping for some rainouts and break time which did not come, the Utes were forced to play tired. The fatigue took its toll. Stevens believes part of the reason for those 19 losses was because her team was out of energy.

“No one [on this team] has ever had to be on the road that long,” she said.

The team spent most of the time in Texas. The state saw little rain in February, and the team couldn’t get any rest.

“We honestly believe our record should be 19-7 at this point,” Stevens said.

The team had trouble getting runs on the board. One of the best hitting teams in the nation, the U’s team batting average is currently .217, .100 below where it should be.

Power hitters Niki Hayhurst and Lyndsey Trevis are hitting at or below .150, a statistic that Stevens believes is the Utes’ biggest problem right now.

“We just got in a funk with hitting,” Stevens said. “That’s extremely atypical. We got in a big slump as a team and we just couldn’t get out of it. You can’t get out of that unless you have time away from it and time to work on it. We didn’t have either.”

The team never had a chance to work out its hitting problems with a fine-tooth comb. Instead, Utah was forced to try to work them out on the field. That frustrated the Utes and got their spirits down.

On the plus side, Stevens noted some good play from several players, including Molly McLean and freshman catcher Bryanne Durance. Behind the plate, Durance threw out most of the players trying to steal bases.

With five days off and a return to play in the state, Stevens is using the time off to the utmost advantage. She basically told the players to get away from softball as much as they can for three days.

“I told them I didn’t want to see them again until we left on the bus to St. George,” Stevens said. “I wanted them for three days to try and get as far away from it as they could within reason.”

The athletes will have a short hitting practice and will be expected to have their own workouts, but rest will be the key for three days.

This will hopefully give the team the drive to win, heading into a five-game tournament in St. George, Utah this weekend.

The team has played well with rest. After having a morning off before a game with New Mexico, the U hit the best it hit all season, according to Stevens.

Some of the teams’ wins came after a day off. If this is any indication as to what the future holds, the Utes should hit the dirt running in St. George.

“I think it will be a different team we see this weekend,” Stevens said.

Santa Barbara, Oregon, Washington and Stanford are some of the teams heading to St. George for battle with the U.

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