Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Tide travels to Fayetteville this weekend

By Jordan Bannister

The Alabama softball team hopes to continue its 12-game winning streak with another set of wins over Arkansas this weekend.

The Tide will hit the road to play a doubleheader against the Razorbacks in Fayetteville, Ark., on Saturday. They’ll close out the week with a third game against Arkansas on Sunday.

Arkansas stands at 25-21this season. The Razorbacks finally broke their nine-game losing streak after beating Memphis 6-1 on Wednesday. Arkansas built a new softball stadium and added a new head coach to their team this season. New coach Mike Larabee worked with Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy on the U.S. national team, putting the “friend” in the “friendly competition.”

The Tide’s most recent victory over Troy Tuesday, 12-2, was just one more win for the growing pile. Alabama improved to 36-9 this season, earning the No. 5 spot for week 11 in both the ESPN Softball Colligate Top 25 Poll and the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Poll.

Alabama said this weekend’s series against Arkansas will prove to be another battle on the field.

“They’re one of those opponents that are extremely worthy,” said Alabama assistant coach Van Stuedeman. “Their numbers aren’t as great as our numbers are, but that doesn’t mean a thing. All of us know about final four upsets and feeling like the underdog team. I expect a true SEC series, a dogfight to the end, and hopefully we end up on the top side.”

From a player’s standpoint, keeping a level head is the key.

“It should go well. They’re a good team, and we can’t look past anyone right now,” said starting catcher Kendall Dawson. “We’re going to go out there ready to play, and hopefully it’ll show.”

“We had a sport psychologist come in this year, and one of the things he emphasized was, that the real opponent is the game,” Stuedeman said. “It won’t matter if there’s someone in the other dugout wearing a blue jersey or an orange jersey or a purple jersey. The game is the same. You have to play against the game itself. We’ve tried to stick with that all year and just let them play their game and do their own thing. Focused but relaxed seem to yield the best performance.”

The Tide team works over 40 hours a week in practice, and after their 12th consecutive win, the team is starting to see how all of their hard work has paid off.

“As it is starting to come closer to the end, as we come closer to the SECs, the wins are becoming even more important,” said junior Whitney Larsen. “One of our goals is to win the SECs, and in order to do that, we need to keep winning these other games.”

She said the team is ecstatic about their dozen wins and doesn’t feel pressured to keep the chain going.

“I didn’t even know we’ve won 12 straight games. We don’t really focus on that,” Larsen said. “We focus on the process. We focus on each individual game. Winning is always a plus, but it’s not necessarily about a streak of wins as much as it is about the goals that we want to accomplish. Sometimes, winning just comes along with that.

“Having a good time and playing a good game are the most important components of the Tide’s team this season, and the wins seem to be just a bonus.”

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