MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s been the best season in Gophers softball history.
They’re ranked No. 2 in the country, with the best record at 54-3.
Sunday night was supposed to be a celebration of that, as the team got together to watch the NCAA Tournament Selection Show.
Then the announcement came like a fastball to the face.
“There was disappointment. There was a little bit of shock,” coach Jessica Allister said.
She thought the Gophers were a lock to host a regional, with a pretty good chance to host a Super Regional.
A day later, she was struggling to comprehend how her team is headed to Alabama instead.
“We go to Texas and play Texas twice, we go to the Big Ten ACC Challenge, sweep Notre Dame and NC State, go to LSU, beat LSU on their home field, go to Fresno, who’s a top-20 team last year, beat Fresno. Go up to Washington, go to Cal, go to Oregon State. It’s a tough thing to swallow when you hear that schedule’s not good enough, because I’m not sure what else we could have done in the preseason,” she said.
But now the challenge is to turn the page…and channel that frustration into positive motivation.
“I think you take the chip on your shoulder, and I always like us a little bit more on the underdog role anyway, so I don’t think that’s a bad thing,” Allister said. “And as mad as I am about it, I think it’s really, really important that we focus on the goals we set as a team are still attainable. And we’ve got to go get them.”
Even if that just got a little tougher.