NCAA Regional
Hofstra Quotes
May 15, 2014

Head Coach Bill Edwards

Opening statement:
“Just happy to be here. This is what you play all year for. You work hard all year to get to a Regional then hopefully a Super Regional and the ultimate goal for all the teams playing right now is to get to the Women’s College World Series. We are happy to be here. We’re happy to compete. It’s going to be an incredible regional. Great coaches. Great teams. Great players. We are excited.”

On the mindset entering the Regional:
“When you get to this time of year, you don’t change anything up. You stay with what got you here. You tweak a couple of things here and there, but you don’t make any drastic changes. We will do what we’ve done all year long. We have two quality pitchers, and we will just do what we have to do with our pitching staff and hopefully play our normal good defense, which has been lacking a little bit lately, so we have been working on that. But if we can keep the ball in park and play good defense, we will be OK.”

On defensive preparation:
“We are just trying to get back to fundamentals. We are trying to get back to technique. We are trying to get back to teaching speed and direction of the ball. Getting back to everything that early on in the year we were so good at. We’re always one of the top defensive teams in the country, and that sort of evaded us. I think we are a little bit jumpy on defense, a little anxious on defense, so we worked on settling down today and gathering better, being on better balance and doing all those individual fundamental things in order to improve it. Now we just have to go out there and execute. I am really confident that we will do it.”

On Texas A&M coach Jo Evans:
“All you have to do is look at the program that she’s established there. We go back a while and are respectful of each other. We have tremendous respect for the program that Jo Evans has built at A&M. Quality person. Quality program. Quality kids. They get after it. They are so well coached in every discipline of our game. We’ve never played them. This is one of the few teams in the country that we have never played, and I told her I just can’t wait to compete against her because she is such a class act.”

On how the success of past postseasons helps entering this regional:
“We’ve been there and we’ve done that. We’ve been to 15 regionals, I think, in our history and our legacy. I think it’s just another game. It’s another opportunity to play. We have a couple of freshmen and first-year players that we are getting to work with another week. At the same time, it is one stop on the path to the World Series. I think that’s probably where we want to be. That’s where A&M wants to be. That’s why we are all here. It’s nothing new to us. It’s something that we’ve been there and we’ve done that and now we have to maybe play a little bit harder, execute a little bit better and do the little things to get us to the next phase, which is the Super Regional. We just have to go out and play as hard as we can play and see where it takes us. Certainly, having been here, Ashley (Ainbinder) was at the UCLA Regional where we won that one. She’s the heart of our team. It’s cool. It’s just something that you dream about as a coach and as a player.”

On if it feels different to be an at-large bid rather than automatic qualifier:
“No, because we’re here. Like I told the team, how many teams in the SEC didn’t win their conference championship and fully expect to win the national championship? We’ve had a bunch of unchartered waters that this team has passed through this year. This is just another unchartered ship that’s trying to find a rudder and steer our way in the right direction. I think everyone that’s playing right now, whether you win a conference championship or not, they really believe that they have an opportunity. I don’t think that anybody within the 64 teams thinks that, ‘OK, we got here and we are just going to play it out and not have an opportunity or chance.’ I think we all really believe that, ‘OK, on any given day, anybody can beat anybody.’ There’s a parity in our game now, and it could come down to one pitch. That’s what great about our game. We have 64 teams here that really, really think that they can get to Oklahoma City, and I think that that’s the big thing that is paramount in our minds now is that we have a shot here. We may not have won our conference championship, but we are here. We’ve played some of the best teams early on in the year and have been competitive with them, so this is a great opportunity for us to go out and really beat at the right time. As Ashley (Ainbinder) said, our chemistry is right. Everything is really ready to get going in the right direction. We are just excited.”

Junior Pitcher Taylor Pirone

On her excitement entering the regional:
“I was actually pretty excited to come back to Norman. It was a great regional to play in (last year). The fans were awesome. They just love softball. I was pretty excited when it got announced we were coming back. As for adrenaline, I think that you’ve got to be under control. I trust that with what I do, my defense is always going to be behind me. If I keep doing what I’ve been doing all year, they are going to keep playing behind me, and we are going to have a good shot at winning.”

On what she and fellow pitcher Morgan Lashley bring in the circle:
“Morgan’s got a lot of up stuff. She’s got a little more pop than I do. I have some more down and off-speed. I think that together, we give two really different looks. Either way, Erin Trippi does a really great job behind the plate. I think that she adjusts to us and our defense does a really great job behind us adjusting to depth, distance and learning how to play behind each one of us differently. I think it gives two totally different perspectives. You’re seeing different angles of the ball, different spin on the ball. I think that we complement each other really nicely.”

Senior Outfielder Ashley Ainbinder

On her feelings entering the regional:
“I think it (not winning their conference) lit a fire under us and our chemistry is peaking right at the point we want it to be at. We are all in a mindset where we are going to go out there, we’re going to get our hacks in and we’re going to be aggressive. We are definitely out for a win this weekend.”

On the mindset of the team this year compared to past years:
“I don’t really think we can compare each year. Each year is a new team. We have a new bunch of players, and it’s a new chemistry we have to build off of. You have to take what you have now and build a future on that. We can’t just keep looking at the past. We have to look at what we have now, build on that, be aggressive with what we have and go out there and fight.”