Aug 16, 2013
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Tennessee softball co-head coach Karen Weekly's time as an assistant coach on the USA Softball Women's National Team this summer has been a truly special experience.
"There's definitely a lot of pride for me as a coach just watching those two put on the USA uniform," Weekly said. "For them, I think when they look to their left and look to their right and see the great talent next to them assembled on a team like this, they know this is special."
Team USA completed pool play in the Pan American Games Qualifier undefeated and enter the playoffs and medal round as the No. 1 seed. Gibson and Chavanne, fresh off completing four-year Tennessee careers in which they re-wrote the record books, have continued to shine this summer as a formidable 1-2 punch in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots of the USA lineup.
"I'm really proud of what Raven and Lauren are doing," Weekly said. "They're both playing outstanding and they're representing USA and Tennessee in the best possible way."
The past few days in San Juan have been rainy, creating delays and game cancellations. Still, Weekly and the USA staff and players have made the most out of the long days, using them as opportunities to bond as a team.
"With the rain delays, it's created a lot of time of sitting in the locker room and getting to know people," Weekly said. "We play a some games sitting there and waiting like catchphrase. So we have a lot of fun with some kids you wouldn't get a chance to meet and know otherwise."
Working with Team USA has also given Weekly a chance to get to know players Tennessee has had to scout and play against in recent years. She said that sharing a dugout with former Tennessee foes Michelle Moultrie (Florida) and Lauren Chamberlain (Oklahoma) has been a great experience.
"It's really just very interesting being on the same side of the field as Moultrie and Chamberlain," Weekly said. "When you compete against them, it's so different. It's neat because there's a lot of `Oh wow, I didn't know you were like this.' It's neat to get to know them and their personalities as ballplayers. You appreciate their talent when you're in the same dugout."
For continued updates on Team USA's play in the Pan American Games Qualifier, go to UTSports.com.