Saturday, April 5, 2014 – Hofstra University & George Mason University / Bronx, NY
This week, we learned that every team in the A10 is going to rise to the occasion to play us. We split with a scrappy George Mason squad in a doubleheader this Saturday at home. Because it was our first home series in-conference, we formally unveiled our 2013 A10 championship banner before the start of the games.
The banner unveiling may have served as more of a curse than a blessing for us, as it appeared to ignite George Mason’s fire, en route to their 3-2 victory over us in game one. We bounced back in game two with a 7-3 win, however, despite trailing 3-0 in the first inning. This showed good resiliency and resolve from our team, as we were able to collectively flush the first game and salvage the doubleheader with a split.
The loss to George Mason was a good lesson for us. It proved that as the defending A10 champions, our conference foes are going to give us their best, even if they are inferior opponents on paper. As the old sports adage goes, “In order to be the best, you have to beat the best,” and since we are currently the standard that the rest of the A10 is trying to reach, we are the game that is circled on their schedules. If we fall asleep on anyone (like we did with George Mason in game one of the doubleheader), we are susceptible to defeat. I think it will be beneficial for us in the long run to realize this now.
Another positive takeaway from the past week was defeating Hofstra for the first time in the regular season in four years. As our head coach Bridget told us after the game, this was a big win for our program. Hofstra is a perennial NCAA tournament team that started the season receiving votes in the USA Today Division I softball polls. Our pitchers and defense were able to hold down a one-run lead for four innings, as we beat them 3-2 on our home field.
With two more mid-week games ahead of us next week against Lehigh and Army, we will prepare for yet another important conference match-up against the Rhode Island Rams in Kingston. We expect every conference series from here on out to be tough, but I know we are up to the task.
Despite the one-run loss to Mason, I still believe we are hot right now. The loss served as a gut check to remind us that we have to show up, both mentally and physically, to every game if we expect to win. Nothing is going to be given to us. If we want to unveil another banner next season, we are going to have to earn every victory, especially in-conference. It is crucial for us to keep in mind that when the target is on your back, you must learn to attack.