MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The University of Minnesota softball team is destined for another NCAA Tournament appearance.

The Gophers are 34-14 overall, 15-3 in the Big-10. It’s a lot like last year, except for one notable difference.

Here they come again, the Gophers. Seemingly strong in every area again.

“We knew we had the offense to come back and make things happen, and Amber Fiser has really stepped up in the circle and made things happen there as well,” Gophers outfielder Maddie Houlihan said.

But there is something decidedly different about the 2018 Gophers softball team: It’s leader. A brand new head coach.

Jamie Trachsel took over. A native of Duluth, she had coached at North Dakota State, then Iowa State before she got the call.

“I got the call and it’s always humbling to be considered for any position and it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down,” Trachsel said.

Her calling card is simple: Keep the other team from scoring.

“She’s awesome. Defense is her thing and we work on that a lot more than I can say we have in the past. But it’s been awesome learning from a different perspective,” Houlihan said.

That fundamental belief is etched. The philosophy that it creates vehicles to runs in the postseason.

“My passion and my area of expertise is probably defense. Understanding the value of offense, it’s offense and pitching. Just to make sure that we can play defense,” Trachsel said.

But right now, her team is doing it all at a high level.

“Right now you’ve got a group of kids who are hungry, who are passionate, that want to win, that are willing to work for what they want. We’ve been piecing it together all year,” Trachsel said.

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