By Ismael Morales |Staff Writer|
After failing to make the CCAA tournament, the Coyotes Softball team has been selected as the 7th seed in this year’s NCAA Division II West Regional Tournament.
The Coyotes are in the Regional Tournament for the second time in school history; 2008 was the first time they had made the Regional Tournament, both times under coach Tacy Duncan.
The Coyotes are not surprised by the selection as they have been practicing for the past three weeks.
“We had a good chance in making the tournament,” said Duncan.
Although Duncan is disappointed that the Coyotes didn’t make the CCAA tournament, she is happy that they were selected to participate in the West Regional Tournament.
Duncan explained how not making the CCAA tournament can be a blessing in disguise. The time off from not playing the tournament has given much needed rest to some players who are nursing minor injuries.
Also, the time off may be good for the team as a whole since it only has 13 players on its roster.
Although the Coyotes have been practicing and do a lot of light hitting drills, nothing can simulate a real game experience.
Since the team only has 13 players, full scrimmages (the closest thing to a real game) are not possible.
The time off can be a blessing in disguise but at the same time can serve as an obstacle for the Coyotes.
Not playing in nearly three weeks can make a team rusty and the lack of playing in meaningful games for the past three weeks does not give the Coyotes any type of momentum going into the tournament.
Despite this, Duncan feels her team will be ready to play in the tournament.
“We can win the national championship, if the right team shows up,” said Coach Duncan.
In 2008 the Coyotes were excited that they had qualified for regionals.
Now in 2011 the Coyotes feel like they belong here and that’s the type of mentality they must have to win the tournament.
Seniors Jacquelyn Holtzclaw and Priscilla Curiel look to lead the way for the Coyotes.
Both seniors played in the tournament in 2008 which gives them experience that will allow them to provide leadership and help keep their teammates calm and relaxed.
“Jacquelyn Holtzclaw is a verbal leader,” said Duncan.
Holtzclaw is the Coyotes number two hitter and she can do it all.
“She hits homeruns, doubles, triples and steals a lot of bases.
Priscilla Curiel is an excellent outfielder.
“She has a great read on the ball, nothing gets by her,” said Duncan.
The Coyotes take their 32-22 overall record to Hawaii where they will face defending NCAA champion Hawaii Pacific University 37-10 overall.
The tournament is split in two, West 1 Regional and West 2 Regional. West 2 Regional is the regional that the Coyotes will be competing in.
The winner of each regional will then face each other in the Super Regional a three game series at a location yet to be determined.
The winner of the Super Regional will get a birth to the NCAA softball tournament.