Starting a season 0-8 can easily be detrimental to a team, often leading to a lack in confidence.
Just don’t tell that to the softball team. After playing games at the Worth Wildcat Tournament in Tucson, Ariz., and at the Oklahoma University Residence Inn Invitational in Norman, Okla., the team remained winless. Three of those losses
came to Arizona and Oklahoma, both nationally ranked among the top 10.
But the Owls rebounded with three wins in last weekend’s Stetson Tournament in DeLand, Fla. “I don’t think that we were discouraged,” senior shortstop Jessica Rohn said of the team’s early struggles.
“Now I think we are more confident in knowing that we can hang around with teams like Arizona.”
In their only game against Arizona, the Owls held the defending national champion Wildcats scoreless on two hits through the first three innings, before allowing nine runs in the fourth, en route to a 9-1 loss.
The Owls earned their first win last Friday
against North Florida, 5-3. Temple now owns a 3-10 record.
In order for the team to win games, Rohn said, the Owls will have to continue the success they showed last weekend.
“At this point, it is our execution that needs to be improved,” Rohn said. “Our coaches are putting us in a position to win.”
Coach Casey Dickson compiled a 22-23 record with the team last season, her first coaching the Owls. Dickson said the team must improve its pitching, especially in eliminating walks. Citing the team’s stiff competition, Dickson said the team has continued to improve.
“We are scheduling against tough teams like Arizona and Oklahoma to become mentally
tough and to get better,” Dickson said. Playing at the tournament in Oklahoma also brought back fond memories for Dickson,
who played for the Sooners from 1994-1997 and graduated in 2000.
Dickson is trying to turn around a program
that has failed to clinch a berth in the Atlantic Ten Conference and NCAA Tournaments since 2004, when former coach Rocci Pignoli led the Owls to the conference championship.
The Owls offense has been led by sophomore
catcher Courtney Norene, who tops the team in home runs (five) and on base percentage (.579). She ranks second in batting
average (.486) and RBIs (11). On Feb. 19, Norene was named the A-10 Player of the Week. Norene is one of six players batting above .300. Lauren Coutu (.500), Katie Burdeaux (.450), Adrienne Repsher (.351), Krystle Metzler (.343) and Nicole Lee (.313) join Norene.
Freshmen Ashley Smuda leads the pitching
staff with two wins. Her .298 opponent batting average is the lowest on the team. She is second in earned run average, at 4.82.
According to Repsher, the two trips west helped the Owls realize their potential.”We learned how to stop the momentum
of the other teams, and that sometimes you just have to tough it out and we just need to focus on our own game,” Repsher said.
“We definitely want to make the A-10 tournament, which I think is a possible goal, and then win the tournament.”
The team next travels to Dover, Del., where they will play a double-header against Delaware State on March 21. The team then makes its first home appearance on March 25, when they start their conference schedule against Charlotte in a doubleheader at the Ambler Sports Complex.
Kevin Smiley can be reached at email@example.com.