STORRS, Conn. - Preparing for the 2017 season, the UConn softball team made great strides this fall with a young roster - finding ways to produce at the plate, string together strong pitching performances and move players around to test versatility.
Now that the eight-game fall schedule is complete, in which the Huskies went 5-1 (score not kept in two), UConn can shift its focus to the winter months and getting ready for the season-opener on February 10 in Fort Myers, Fla.
"Overall, I am very pleased with how the fall season went. We are the most versatile as a team that we have been in a couple of years," said head coach Jen McIntyre, who enters her third season. "We were able to move a lot of people around in several different positions."
The Huskies played Boston College, Bryant, UMass-Lowell, Yale and Fairleigh Dickinson between Sept. 18 and Oct. 9. In that time, UConn as a team hit .349 at the dish, including a multi-home run game from senior Valerie Sadowl against the River Hawks.
"I really liked how aggressive we were offensively and how certain combinations worked together on defense," said McIntyre. We look to the offseason to fine-tune some individual skill work."
UConn is joined by eight freshmen this season, coming to Storrs from as close as Orange, Conn. and as far as California (three from Calif.). The group includes a pair of pitchers, infielders, outfielders and utility players for a balanced lineup.
"It was great seeing the freshman class in a UConn uniform for the first time," said McIntyre. "The entire group is athletic and hungry. They love to flat-out compete."
"The returners have been invaluable in incorporating such a large freshman class into our system. They constantly raise the standards of our program and keep pushing us to achieve more each day," said McIntyre.
The pitching staff combined to toss 30 scoreless innings in six games - a staff that ran three-deep in 2016, but now goes five or six-deep. Sophomore Jill Stockley returns as UConn's biggest producer in the circle.
"We are beginning to see leaders emerge and it has been incredible watching their growth and development in such a short period of time," said McIntyre. "I am excited to get to work in the next phase as we keep working to build a championship program."
With the fall season concluded, the Huskies circle February 10-12, 2017 on their calendars. They will be participating in the FGCU Softball Tournament against Long Island University, Savannah State University and Florida Gulf Coast University in the opening series of 2017.