SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Santa Clara University softball team puts on cleats and gloves for the first time this week as official practice begins in preparation for the 2011 season. Led by sixth-year head coach Lisa Mize, the Broncos open the year on Sunday, February 20 at San Jose State.
The 2011 roster consists of four seniors, three juniors, two sophomores and seven freshmen. Junior infielder Kristin Welsh (.322 BA - Santa Clara's top hitter in 2010) returns along with outfielders, junior Briana Knight (7 HR, 26 RBI) and senior Jackie Nicora (18 R, 17 RBI).
Mize and her coaching staff have made defense a priority in early workouts: "Trying to get quick out on the field defensively is a focus of early practices," said Mize. "Getting rid of the ball, being sharp with our ground balls and fly balls … a lot of the basics the first week and we will progress with more team practices the following week."
The team will hold on-field practice five times weekly and will do additional strength and conditioning three times per week.
"We are going to hit it pretty hard the first few weeks to get us ready and in shape," said Mize. "We need to get more powerful and do some conditioning that allows for injury prevention."
The 2011 schedule has Santa Clara playing 10 road games in late February and early March before hosting the Santa Clara Bronco Classic at the Alden E. Oliver Sports Park in Hayward March 12-13.
Tuesday, Jan. 11 - Practice Begins
Sunday, Jan. 30 - High School Prospect Camp
Saturday, Feb. 19 - Annual SCU Softball Crab Feed!
Sunday, Feb. 20 - Season Opener at San Jose State (DH)