In today's Badger Blog, head coach Yvette Healy talks about the importance of quality over quantity in the Badgers' quest to qualify for the NCAA tournament.
What an exciting opening weekend in North Carolina. It's always fun to go 4-1 any weekend. In a 50 game season, every win counts. Yet after posting back-to-back 30 win seasons here at Wisconsin -- and setting records for the most wins in school history last year with 34 and most wins in Big Ten play with 13 -- we understand that there's more to earning a post-season bid than just victories. It's about signature wins. Great teams have an outstanding winning percentage, but they also have wins against the NCAA tournament field. You have to steal a few victories every year from teams that are ranked, teams that are receiving votes, and teams that are perennial powerhouses who compete in the NCAA tournament year-in and year-out.
We've been stressing the importance of quality over quantity this year with the Badger softball team. While winning is always fun, our goal as a program is to compete in the NCAA tournament, make a run deep into the NCAA's and compete for a Big Ten championship. With lofty goals like that, you have to challenge your team on your spring trips. You have to play more top 25 teams, and give your team a chance to steal a few signature wins.
After watching the Badger softball team compete opening weekend, we know we have a lot of work to do. We have lists of things we can improve on as a ball club. The fact is, we're going to be the underdog in a lot of our games this spring. On paper, we're over-matched by a lot of our opponents. For the next four weeks, we're going to face numerous All-American, All-Region, and first team All-Conference pitchers and hitters. We'll go toe-to-toe with athletes who are the players of the year in their conferences. Yet if you want to become a perennial NCAA tournament team, you have to face those ball clubs and strategize how to hang with them. Our goal is to create a game plan that puts our team in a position to win late in the game. If we can keep it close, this team has the grit, heart and desire to make amazing things happen late in game.
Below is a link to video highlights from Sunday's 11 inning, 6-5 win over Notre Dame. It's no wonder Notre Dame's pitcher, Laura Winter, was named All-Region the last two years and 2012 Big East pitcher of the year. She pitched two incredible games against us last weekend, surrendering only one hit over the first seven innings on Sunday. We're so proud of team for showing confidence and composure in extra inning play against a legacy program like Notre Dame.
Notre Dame highlights: http://youtu.be/6CqtSRJvlOc