Jan. 24, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The No. 6 Tennessee softball team continued its preseason practice outside this week at Lee Stadium with live pitching drills on Wednesday.
The team learned of its ranking in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Preseason Poll on Tuesday, but the Lady Vols understand that the only ranking that matters is the one at the end of the year.
"I think this team expects to win," co-head coach Karen Weekly said. "I don't think this team is going to look at the rankings and that's going to change anything about their expectations coming into the season. This team wants to win. This team wants to perform better than it did at the end of the year last year, and they expect to. That's what we want here at Tennessee and that's what we strive for every year."
Director of softball operations Lindsay Schutzler Bell had an illustrious career as a Lady Vol from 2004-07 and played a major role in Tennessee's Women's College World Series appearances in 2005, 2006 and 2007. UT was ranked No. 14 in the preseason poll prior to its 2005 trip to the WCWS, No. 3 in 2006 and No. 2 in 2007. Bell said that preseason rankings are nice, but the motivation and drive to earn that trip to Oklahoma City comes from the team and the goals it sets for itself.
"It didn't matter where we were ranked," said Bell, who owns many of UT's hitting records. "Our goal was to play for the national championship and part of that is making it to the World Series. No matter where you're ranked, your goals are always going to be set high. You can't let rankings or opponents get in the way when your goal is to win every game, every day."
FRESHMEN LOOKING SHARP
On Wednesday, the freshmen performed well on defense as some of UT's veteran stars got their cuts in.
Catcher Lexi Overstreet made some good plays fielding bunts and throwing to second. Anna Renfroe also performed well on slaps and bunts played to third. Pitcher Erin Gabriel looked strong and confident throwing to the Lady Vols' top hitters.
MEET YOUR SEATS AND THE TEAM SUNDAY
With the start of the season right around the corner, the Tennessee softball team is hosting its annual "Meet Your Seats" for fans on Sunday, Jan. 27, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Lee Softball Stadium.
The Tennessee coaching staff will speak to the fans at 1:30 p.m. and the coaches and student-athletes will be available for autograph signing from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Free parking will be available next to the facility.
Fans can get a tour of the facility as well as a chance to check out available season ticket seating that can be purchased through UTTIX.com.