No. 5 Sooners host media at the OU Softball Complex.
Jan. 30, 2008
NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma softball team held its annual media day Wednesday afternoon at the OU Softball Complex. OU head coach Patty Gasso addressed the media about the approaching season which will begin on Feb. 8 when the No. 5 Sooners take on No. 10 UCLA in Westwood, Calif., in their season opener.
Joining Gasso with the media were senior captain Savannah Long, senior pitcher Lauren Eckermann and junior first baseman Samantha Ricketts. Eckermann and Ricketts were recently named to USA Softball's Preseason Watch List for National Player of the Year. Ricketts was one of three finalists for the award last season.
Following its season opening tournament in California, the Sooners will head home for their home opener against St. Gregory's on Tuesday, Feb. 12. Season ticket packages are still available.
Below are a few quotes from the press conference:
_______________________________________________________Head Coach Patty Gasso Opening statement:
"Having lost six seniors and having six freshmen you'd think that we're young, but our returners here have experience. Lauren (Eckermann) and D.J. (Mathis) are going to lead the way on the mound and we will see many returners in the starting lineup. The freshmen are battling to find their way in. So we're excited and we're still looking forward to it, but we still have some work to do out there before we can be as good as we think we can be. A lot of hard work has been going on the past month or so." On being ranked No. 5 nationally:
"I take pride in the fact that I believe we got that ranking for the traditions and history that we have as a program. That means a lot to us to see all the people recognize that. However, a No. 5 ranking doesn't do anything for us except motivate us to try to maintain that or live up to that. We aren't putting a lot of attention to that. Right now we are trying to get better and be progressing to that stage. We're taking steps each day, some are good and some aren't so good, but probably more good steps than not."Junior First Baseman Samantha Ricketts
On her improvement since she arrived at OU:
"I think I've definitely learned a lot over the years. I have completely changed the type of hitter that I was and that's a big part of what I am now. I try not to look ahead and set a season goal for myself. I take it one game at a time." On feeling pressure this season after such a successful year last year:
"I love the pressure. It just makes the game what it is. Everybody has a chance to shine and in the end help the team win. I really just try not to focus too much on it being make or break. I know I can come through and that I am able to." Senior Pitcher Lauren Eckermann
On motivation from last year:
"I think last year kind of left a bad taste in all of our mouths. We're anxious to get back on the field and change the outcome this year." On this year's team:
"I think we lost a lot of great players and a lot of great leaders, but we have brought in another great group of athletes. We're just coming together as a team and taking things that we learned from last season and applying them to this year. We've just been moving on and haven't had a stopping point. We're just adjusting where we need to." Senior shortstop Savannah Long
On having a better ending than last year:
"I think it's going to have a lot to do with desire and dedication. We just need to put in the extra work and the extra time, do what we need to do and let the chips fall where they may." On the freshmen:
"I think all the experience the returners have is really good. I think the freshman class is a really good thing for us. They don't play like freshman. They're really stepping up and confident in themselves, which is good for our team. At the same time I think that some people are stepping up for the team and taking on leadership roles. That's really good for us and it's all starting to come together." On OU's tough schedule:
"I'm excited. I'm always ready for a challenge and I know this team is as well. We like any kind of challenge that we can take on. The tougher the schedule, the tougher it's going to make us in the end. I'm ready for it."