Day after day, the snow continues to blanket the softball diamond on the far side of campus. Each new layer buries the team?s hopes of playing the scheduled home opener against SUNY Geneseo March 29.
Despite the weather, the team has been diligently preparing to face its first opponent from the north. ?Geneseo is a very balanced team,? head coach Kris Shanley said. ?Traditionally they have decent pitchers and kids that can hit the ball.?
UR has not played a game or even practiced outside since their spring break trip to Florida, where they posted a 1-10 record in competition including the University Athletic Association Championships.
?We know that every other team is stuck inside too,? Shanley said. ?What will be key is how we maintain our focus in order to be efficient and effective outside.?
Shanley remains confident in her team?s ability to remain focused despite the prospect of a condensed schedule.
?People on this team understand how important it is to focus on game time. Right now we?re doing the groundwork to prepare us for back to back games.?
?It gets incredibly hectic,? said junior co-captain and catcher Kristy Krivickas, describing the team?s typical compact season.
?Sometimes we?ll play double-headers four days in a row. With exams it gets hard,? she added.
The team?s preparations include a recent indoor scrimmage against Monroe Community College.
?We performed very well,? Shanley said.
?[Freshman pitcher] Kathy Gagne did an outstanding job, and we did a great job putting the ball in play,? she said.
Krivickas said she hopes that the team?s strong performance against MCC will carry over to the transition outside.
?We really communicated better and attacked the ball more during the scrimmage, which is hopefully a good indicator for our first game,? she said.
Saturday?s 1 p.m. game at Buffalo State pits the Yellowjackets against a similarly youthful group of Bengals.
UR?s eight freshmen account for nearly 60 percent of the team?s roster, while the returning SUNY Athletic Conference champions return only four upperclassmen. Their roster is dominated by 11 newcomers. Last year?s team from Buffalo State boasted its seventh trip to the NCAA Playoffs in school history, but as a team Shanley feels ?we always play well against [them].?
?If we can force them into some errors by putting the ball in play, being smart defensively and playing our game, they tend to crumble when backed into a corner,? Shanley said.