Rough start to softball team’s season
The softball team (1-4) opened their season at Eller Media Stadium in less-than-spectacular fashion during the Sportco Kickoff Classic Feb. 7-9.
“There’s a lot of stuff we need to work on,” said senior center-fielder Stefany Valentino. “We need to come out with more fight and do the little things right.”
Three of the five teams UNLV played this weekend made the NCAA Tournament last season, and two of those teams (Washington and Baylor) are ranked in the top-25.
Arkansas, the third team the Rebels faced that made the postseason last year, is right outside the top-25 but is receiving votes.
“We’re better than what we showed this weekend,” Valentino said. “We just have to regroup, re-focus, and come out prepared for practice on Tuesday.”
The Rebels split their season opening double-header, losing to Arkansas 12-4, but winning in come-from-behind style against UC-Davis 4-3. UNLV put itself in a 2-0 hole in the top of the second, only to answer with two runs of its own in the bottom of the inning.
The Rebels broke the 2-2 tie in the sixth with homers from Emily Haslinger and Alyssa Cordova.
Cordova led UNLV players, going 3-for-4 at the plate and hitting a homerun in both games.
On Saturday, UNLV faced its stiffest competition, losing 7-1 to No. 3 Washington and 7-3 to No. 18 Baylor.
Valentino went 3-for-7 combined with one walk. On Sunday, the Rebels dropped an 8-4 contest to San Diego.
Head coach Lisa Dodd was optimistic about her team’s performance over the weekend despite the large margins of defeat.
“I think skill-wise we can hang with all of [those teams],” Dodd said. “I didn’t feel we were overmatched, but the difference is those teams came out more aggressive than we did.”
Things won’t get any easier heading into the Desert Classic at Jim Rogers Field in Las Vegas. UNLV has a date with No. 8 Oregon, followed by matchups Minnesota, Utah Valley and Long Beach State. The Rebels played each team once last season, with their only win coming against Utah Valley.
“We definitely feel like we have an advantage going into this weekend,” Dodd said. “We’ve got scouting reports, video and we know their tendencies. We just have to come out aggressive.”
Dodd had a lengthy meeting with the team after their loss to San Diego. She gathered the players and coaches in left field and talked for 25 minutes.
“We kinda show up when we want and you can’t do that and be successful consistently,” Dodd said. “[I said] We can do another year like last year with ups and downs, or we can change our actions and behaviors and make something different out of this.”