STORRS, Conn. – Following Senior Day at the Burrill Family Field on Sunday afternoon, the UConn softball team carried the celebration into the night with its annual team banquet to honor the team’s accomplishments and three senior players at the Alumni Center on campus.
Even as the Huskies prepare to participate in the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Thursday in Greenville, N.C., they first enjoyed a night with coaches, players, staff and families.
Seniors Kayla Doty, Valerie Sadowl and Taylor Townsend were joined by family and friends to honor their contributions to the program, but also to celebrate their graduations, as each walked in Commencement at Gampel Pavilion at 5 p.m.
“It means a lot to be here tonight, especially having most of the people who helped me reach this point in one room,” said Sadowl. “I’m just very grateful to have this opportunity.”
Head coach Jen McIntyre made brief opening remarks before each table got up for a buffet-style dinner and dessert. Following the meal, McIntyre thanked all staff members for their hard work throughout the season.
A highlight video was shared with everyone, touching upon each part of the season with the Huskies. Everything from offseason workouts to the Hawaii trip to game footage was displayed in photos and video clips.
Separate messages from each member of the Class of 2016 were also included as a special surprise, as Lexi Gifford, Alyssa Gardea, Jacklyn Dubois, Alyson Ambler and Heather Fyfe all sent their best wishes to the senior class – teammates they played with for three seasons.
“It’s been challenging the past five seasons, but also very rewarding…my best friends were in my class so when they graduated, it was tough,” said Sadowl, who redshirted after sustaining an injury as a junior. “This team took me in and I have 17 new best friends.”
McIntyre then addressed the three seniors, sharing funny stories about each before giving them the stage for a final senior address. Each thanked their coaches, teammates and families for the support over the past four years.
“It means the world to be here (at the banquet). I have really learned to be confident in myself and being a part of the team has helped me grow as a person,” said Townsend.
Now as the focus shifts to Thursday, McIntyre’s squad focuses on making one last push to finish the 2017 season on a strong note. UConn will play second-seeded Houston at 1:30 p.m. (ET) in the first round of the AAC Tournament.