JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Over the weekend, the Jacksonville University Softball team was able to win three out of five games against Canisius College, Providence College, and the University of Texas at Arlington in a tournament played at the Debbie and Fred Pruitt Softball Complex.
The team started off slow, losing its first two games on Friday. They lost to UT-Arlington 3-1 and then again to Providence 4-0, but were able to bounce back and win the next three games on Saturday and Sunday. They beat Canisius 5-1 and Providence 1-0 on Saturday, and then wrapped things up by beating UT-Arlington 2-0 on Sunday.
This is a familiar start for the team. According to JUdolphins.com, this brings its 2018 record to 6-4 through the first 10 games. This is the exact record the team had in the 2017 season through the first 10 games, and the team went on to finish with a overall record of 30-25.
Team members recognize the position they’re in but don’t seem fazed by their past record.
Sophomore outfielder Kate Davis was very calm when it came to the connections between this year and last year’s starts.
“Not many girls on my team really care about last season,” Davis said. “We know that we are a better team than last year and the past is the past.”
When it comes to the team’s current play, Davis said she’s proud of how her teammates performed over the long weekend.
“This weekend taught me a lot about this year’s team,” Davis said. “I know the first two games did not go how we planned, but after the wins on Saturday and Sunday, I saw that our team could bounce back and play with a lot of confidence, even after losing two early.”
Freshman pitcher Madison Kaufman agreed.
“I think after losing, we played with more purpose,” Kaufman said. “I think losing to them to start off the weekend really lit a fire under our butts and allowed us to play with more passion and determination that led us to our two wins.”
Head coach Erica Ayers had the last say on what she thought of her team’s performance.
“I’m super proud of how the girls played,” said Ayers. “Arlington has a tough pitching group, but I think we were able to make the right types of adjustments to take care of that issue. Being able to bounce back from a tough set of Friday games and then win three in a row is a great way to finish up the tournament.”
Even with a winning record over the three days, Davis picked up on some aspects the Dolphins need to improve upon.
“In both of the games we lost, we could not make timely hits or adjustments,” Davis said. “Not being able to hit the ball makes it pretty tough to win games.”
The team will need to learn how to make powerful plays moving into next weekend. It will face Western Carolina University, Penn State University, and University of Central Florida this coming February 28 at the Debbie and Fred Pruitt Softball Complex.
“If we play with more focus and more energy, then we should be able to come out of the gates strong against any team we play,” said Kaufman. “I think we can beat anyone in the country if we can do those two things. ”