Tars’ head coach discusses high performance, high expectations
After winning all 10 games since opening on March 12, Rollins Softball’s doubleheader against Florida Southern was postponed this week, due to a surge in COVID-19 cases among the Moccasins. The Tars currently rank No. 5 in the country, catching up to their highest national ranking of No. 3.
“I believe that getting off to a good start was extremely important,” said Head Coach Michelle Frew, who is entering her 25th season in charge of the program. “It was more than a year from our last game, and the first games would definitely set the tone for the year.”
Last season, the Tars registered the best start in the history of the program at 19-0. Frew felt her team was well on its way to a conference championship, and the COVID-19 interruption “left both players and coaches feeling empty,” Frew said.
Even following the shutdown, she felt like this season, on the whole, has been positive. Yet the summer, fall, and preseason had numerous difficulties.
Coaches and players did not have the same opportunities to develop relationships with newcomers or cultivate established relationships. Furthermore, training camps, clinics, and campus visits were eliminated due to COVID-19 restrictions, with phone calls and Webex decreasing personal interactions.
In addition, the unknown status of the season complicated preparations.
“We prepare players to peak at the right time for competition, and not having a schedule set until February made it difficult,” Frew said. “I believe we outworked and are more prepared than our opponents, but, this year, planning was more difficult.”
To overcome these challenges, the Tars relied on talent and the desire to win, attributes that Frew and her staff look for when recruiting.
“We also have depth, which creates opportunities for competition amongst the team. Players push each other to get better,” Frew said.
Fans can expect to see some great pitching supported by an explosive offense. In 2020, the team’s pitching staff ranked 2nd in the NCAA, even after graduating two seniors from a staff ranked first in 2019.
The Tars expect to once again lead the conference in most offensive numbers, including batting average, home runs, and run scored.
Frew said, “Our team has set very high expectations. Players and coaches believe that a conference championship and a national championship are within our reach. We have the talent and the work ethic to achieve at a high level.”
According to Frew, the Tars are always looking to improve their offense in order to support the pitching staff. They have worked hard on situational hitting, and by now, each player knows their strengths and weaknesses.
Freshmen and transfer students in particular are capitalizing on the opportunity to finally get their repetitions and experience as they improve at the collegiate level. The ability to have a season is equally meaningful for the upperclassmen.
“Seniors deserve to go out on a positive, fulfilling note,” Frew said. “Last season was an unfortunate circumstance that heightened the awareness of the current senior class. They love being a part of the Rollins Softball program and enjoy representing their school.”
The Tars’ next game is April 1 against Saint Leo University.