It was a devastating loss, that ended Arizona softball's season last year. The lasting images of their upset at the hands of Baylor in the Super Regional...Wildcats laying on the field at Hillenbrand Stadium, with tears streaming down their faces.
The Wildcats were supposed to advance to the College World Series, but Baylor had other plans in their winner take all meeting last spring. "I had my bags packed to go to Oklahoma City," said sophomore infielder Jessie Harper. "I was not thinking anything other than Oklahoma City. Obviously, you take that day by day and those game by game, but I had Oklahoma City on my mind and I did not plan to be driving home the following day."
The Wildcats met with the media today for the first time this season, hoping for a fresh start and a chance to teach the incoming teammates about the culture with Arizona softball. But they are also without some impactful seniors...Katiyana Mauga, Mo Mercado, Danielle O'Toole and Mandie Perez. Which they'll have to find a way to fill the void those players left.
Arizona added transfers Alyssa Denham and Aleah Craighton, from the University of Louisiana Lafayette. The two departed ULL after head coach, Michael Lotief, was fired amid allegations of verbal and physical assault. Head coach Mike Candrea called him a very close friend at today's practice.
"You know, through the years, I've been able to kind of move forward a little bit easier and a little bit quicker and I think that's the key," said head coach Mike Candrea on the shocking loss to end last season. "As you get more mature, I guess you get better at doing that. Fortunately, our goal is to get to the college World Series and play in the last game of the season so anything less than that, it's always a disappointment."
Arizona softball opens their season on February 9 against Northwestern.