Teresa Wilson Softball Media Day Quotes
Jan. 29, 2002
Head Coach Teresa Wilson
Tuesday, January 29, 2002
Softball Media Day
On the youth of last year's team: 'I think last year was the true definition of a young team. We had 15 of 19 kids who had never started a college game. For that group to gain an unconditional belief in a program and a philosophy - for them to actually improve during the course of the Pac-10 season and raise their batting averages over that time - was something that normally wouldn't happen. Most Pac-10 schools carry a high batting average into the conference season, and then you face the All-Americans and the average goes down a little bit, so it shows you how much we were improving.
'For us to reach a point early last season where we were actually counting the games we would need to even make the postseason, and then to improve enough where we could throw that out the window and say, 'Heck with making it, we are going back to the Series.' The team finished third in the Pac-10 behind Arizona and UCLA. We beat Cal two out of three, Stanford two out of three and Oregon State two out of three. To finish third in that conference and then get sent to the defending national champion (Oklahoma) for regionals, was a tough thing, but it taught us a lot.
'To show you how much parity there was, we were four outs away from beating Oklahoma in that first game and had we beaten them they would have had to throw the same pitcher three games in a day just like we did with Tia Bollinger. For Oklahoma to be an inning away from beating Arizona in the World Series, and then having one of the best comebacks of all time, shows you the parity last season.
'So to define this year's (UW) team - they are young, but experienced and excited about playing.'
On the upcoming road trip: 'We start off with Long Beach State, so we see a good team right away - a team that has been to postseason and the (College World) Series many times. Long Beach is always a good program and it will be a good test for our kids right out of the gates.
'San Diego State is much, much improved this year, Northridge is ranked, and then we go to Florida to see more ranked teams, who have historically performed well and finished high in their regions. They are a good group of teams to see as far as competition in other regions.'
On this year's freshman class: 'It is a young group, age-wise, but not in experience. They bought into a philosophy and have taken what has been taught and run with it. They have a hunger for information and made huge strides. The two freshmen pitchers (Ashley Boek, Leslie Scott) remind me a lot of (All-Americans) Jamie Graves and Jen Speediaci when they were freshmen. They have that same incredible talent, hunger for information, a huge heart, and a burning desire to excel. I can't say enough about them.
'Kathy Fiske is going to come in and pick up right where (UW grad) Kim DePaul left off. She is a great player with a huge voice. Our infield is going to be a lot louder than it was last year. All the freshmen can come in and contribute immediately and will give Tia (Bollinger) and Jaime (Clark) room to breathe.'
On the team's No. 9 preseason ranking: 'This year's ranking is a lot closer than last year's (preseason) ranking - somebody did their homework this year. I think we have the capability to do that well, and if this team can improve as much as they did last year, I would expect us to be sitting at the Series again - that is definitely the goal. The freshmen are a very responsible group of players, who feel a real sense of pride in a legacy that they have not yet furthered, but they feel the impact of it.
'At the end of their summer workouts, the team indicated they fully realized that they were the first group in six years to not compete in the College World Series. As they were planning their goals for this year, they sent the message to the coaching staff that it would not happen again. They are an insightful group for such a young bunch of players.'
On the pitching staff: 'I am as excited about this staff as any we have had in a long time. They have the capability to be the kind of staff that (Jennifer) Speediaci and Jamie (Graves) were, and add another pitcher to that, and it is more like Speediaci, Jaime and Eve (Gaw).
'It is going to be a solid staff. We are always going to have two solid pitchers, and someone who can come into a relief role if another is struggling. But all three of them are very capable and the only thing the two freshmen have to deal with is youth. They have got the heart, the desire and the competitive fire burning, so I look for great things from them this season.'