Maybe a vacation to Hawai’i is just what the doctor ordered for the UCSB softball team.
Hoping to bounce back from a disappointing season-opening doubleheader loss to Loyola Marymount, the Gauchos will take part in the Hawai’ian Tournament, a two-day affair that will pit them against some solid opponents.
Santa Barbara’s trip to the Bay Area last weekend went up in smoke, with all five games against University of California-Berkeley, St. Mary’s and Santa Clara being rained out. Most importantly, the Gauchos lost the opportunity of gaining valuable playing time and learning experience for this young team.
"We’ll be going against some pretty good competition," UCSB Head Coach Liz Kelly said. "This will be like opening the season again. We were disappointed not to play in the Bay area. We just need to play some games and get ourselves back on track."
Over the weekend, UCSB will match up against Centenary (1-7), Auburn (6-1), #14 Cal State Fullerton and host Hawai’i. The team hopes that the tournament will enable it to continue building its team chemistry, and the competition will serve as a springboard for the individual players to showcase their talents. Since the team still lacks a permanent starting lineup or defensive makeup, players’ performances could decide who rides the pine and who gets to shine.
"Everybody just needs to play," Kelly said. "We’re just not in sync."
In order to be more successful and chalk up some victories, the Gauchos will have to rely on fundamentals and make the routine plays. Kelly stressed the importance of applying and enforcing what they do on the practice field and taking it to the playing field.
"We need to execute, step up the defensive intensity, swing the bat more aggressively and hopefully everything will work out," she said.
The Gauchos will return from the tournament Tuesday.
– Jason Chau