After starting the season with a disappointing 1-11 record over spring break, the softball team is looking to improve its record against a tough northern schedule.

The Yellowjackets will focus on doing well in the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association after struggling in the University Athletic Association championships in Florida. The women aim to build from their experiences over break and learn from some of their mistakes.

&The Florida trip really taught us that we need to be prepared both mentally and physically,& Head Coach Kris Shanley said. &In this sport there are opportunities to create opportunities for yourself, and eliminate them for other teams.&

&We need to minimize mental mistakes and capitalize on the mistakes of our opponents,& she said

Junior catcher and captain Kristy Krivickas said that the Yellowjackets have developed a great chemistry and their opening competition has made them realize the need to &focus for all 14 innings and concentrate on getting that third out.&

Krivickas credited sophomore outfielder Val Palermo and freshmen catcher Sara Dial and infielder Becky Ryszkiewicz with strong performances throughout the tournament in Florida.

Shanley recognized the three as critical to the team&s success throughout the season.

&Becky, Sara, and Val are all unbelievable athletes and competitors. They would do whatever it takes to make themselves and the team better,& Shanley said.

She also praised the efforts of freshmen first baseman Liz Morrison and shortstop Kelly Donnelly for their contributions over break.The Yellowjackets open their northern schedule with some tough competition, as they host the defending Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference North Champions SUNY Geneseo Thursday, March 29 at 3 p.m.

The Knights are the first in a string of talented teams that held UR to an overall 10-27 record last year (1-9 UCAA).

In fact, Shanley said, UR opens its season with the toughest competition it will face all season.

SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Brockport, SUNY Buffalo and St. John Fisher will all pose &tough& competition.

&Our goal is to come out with a winning record and achieve the best of our potential this season,& Krivickas said. &We can&t let us beat ourselves. The key to achieving these goals will be communication and having confidence offensively.&

&We need to continue pushing the base paths and putting the ball in play,& Shanley said. &We did achieve this simple goal over break and it will definitely help us with our northern schedule.&

&There is a commitment here unlike any of the past three years,& Shanley said. &These girls need to realize that this year they have the potential to set the standard for UR softball.&

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