The Sunshine State’s dry fields and warm weather promise to be a welcome change for the softball team.
After weeks of wet, cold weather that resulted in a cancelled doubleheader against Quinnipiac, Yale will finally get the chance to play softball outside on its annual spring break trip to Orlando, Fla. The Elis have 12 opponents on the agenda from March 11-18, 10 of whom they do not see during the regular season.
Though the Bulldogs are set to take the field against some scholarship schools, the players are not concerned about who their opponents are.
“Honestly, I don’t even know who we are playing in Florida, and I don’t care,” captain and second baseman Christina Guerland ’07 said. “All I am concerned about is our team and working on all aspects of the game.
Though many players said they are focusing solely on their own effort, Yale head coach Barbara Reinalda said that the trip will be a good chance to play teams at a higher level because they offer athletic scholarships.
The squad’s goal is to maintain a high level of team chemistry over the eight-day mini-spring training. The Elis, who have not played on an actual diamond since last fall, will also get the chance to compete on dirt and practice on off days while soaking up some sun in central Florida.
“I’m really excited for the season to start, and the team chemistry is definitely there,” utility player Alexandra Canulli ’10 said. “Getting to play on dirt and finally getting to play some games will be fun.”
The trip offers the Elis a chance to work out some kinks in their positioning before the Ivy League season begins, and they hope to have settled on a starting lineup by the time they return.
They will also continue to work on their hitting with rookie assistant coach Jay Stratton, who team members said has been helping each player to improve individually.
“[Stratton’s] main role has been hitting,” Reinalda said. “He’s been working on hitting techniques since the fall. But that’s not the only thing he does — he’s also been working our catchers very hard.”
Once the Bulldogs return to New Haven, they will have only two weeks before lining up against Cornell, their first Ivy opponent and last year’s conference runner-up.
This season, the Ancient Eight will be broken up into two divisions so that each team will play the members of its division four times and the remaining squads just twice. This also cranks up the total number of games from 16 to 20, including an early start that third baseman Meredith Parks ’07 said will be a boon for the team.
“Since I’ve been here, we usually start off our season very well and we don’t continue that way,” she said. “We lose our momentum, and I think starting Ivies sooner, we’ll be able to carry that momentum through more of the season.”
If the Bulldogs’ 10-4 record over the spring trip last year is any indication, the squad may have a lot of momentum to build on coming back from Orlando.