With a 21-32 overall record last year, the Wildcats are looking to improve once again. Weber State University has improved every year since joining the softball world. Last year, WSU’s five seniors helped guide the Wildcats to the record. In 2011, they improved nine games with a 19-win improvement in 2010.
The team struggled this past weekend at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah, going winless in all five games. Head coach Tina Johnson said the problems the team had were all fixable.
“None of the issues were mental,” Johnson said. “The chemistry of the team is good. That is hard to do, especially with this team. This is a young team, with nine freshmen on the team this year. They are going to have to work hard and find everyone’s weaknesses and strengths throughout the year.”
Johnson said the weather has a lot to do with the team’s performance. She said that, for most of the winter, the team has been training indoors, so it might have been a bit different to play outside.
“The players have not played outside before the Classic, so it was a good experience for all the players,” Johnson said. “The issues were not mental. The players were communicating, and they knew what they were doing.”
Jasmine Ioane, a right-handed junior pitcher who transferred from Central Arizona College, said one of the things that made her want to come to WSU is the history of the program and the fact that she feels the team has a bright future.
“I came to Weber State to win and because of the tradition,” Ioane said.
Ioane was named to the All-Conference first team in 2011 and second team in All-Conference and All-Division I.
The team started training and practice in September. The Wildcats have only one senior from last year, London Clarke.
Johnson said Clarke should bring experience and might become a great role model for all the young athletes on the team. Johnson also said playing in tournaments like the Red Desert Classic will help the young team improve quickly.
“Even if they are juniors, they are still rookies in this division,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the tournaments will help the team develop consistency and gain experience because of the competition it is going up against. The players now have their first couple of games under their belt.
Johnson said the expectations will still be high and that, even though it doesn’t have the leadership yet, the team will be looking forward to winning games and hoping to play in the playoffs in mid-May.
The Wildcats will take the field again on Feb. 22 when they travel to Riverside, Calif., to take on Boise State University to open the University of California, Riverside Tournament. They have three more invitationals to play until conference play starts on March 13, when they will face Utah State University at home.