Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Minutewomen face Boston University in final softball game before conference play begins

UMass looks to bounce back after loss to BU last year

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Minutewomen face Boston University in final softball game before conference play begins

Maxwell Zaleski/Collegian

Maxwell Zaleski/Collegian

Maxwell Zaleski/Collegian

Maxwell Zaleski/Collegian

By Javier Melo, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts softball team will travel to Boston University this weekend for its final game before returning to Amherst to start up conference play.

For the Minutewomen (10-12), the game is a welcome transition back to regional games after traveling to Georgia, North Carolina and Florida twice in the past month for various tournaments.

“I’m really excited to play them, actually,” UMass coach Kristi Stefanoni said. “I think they’re a great regional opponent for us. They’re always very good every year. I think it’s a good matchup going into our first conference weekend, so I know not only am I excited about playing the opponent, but I’m hopefully excited to be playing on some dirt in New England.”

UMass has had a rocky start to the season, playing in tournaments against multiple schools in the Power 5 conferences and against schools ranked in the top 25 nationally. Taking on a tough string of matchups to start the season isn’t new for the Minutewomen, but the coaches had a plan when taking on these games.

This plan “was to be as prepared as you possibly could be by playing against the best people, regardless of result. [The result] wasn’t something we were focused on,” Stefanoni said. “At the end of the day, we were trying to focus on what was going to make us better for this particular part of the season.

“I’m hoping with all that we’ve been through, the ups and the downs throughout the first couple of tournaments, I’m hoping that it taught us, if anything, how to be resilient,” Stefanoni added.

Senior Kaycee Carbone had similar thoughts on the matter.

“I think the tough schedule definitely prepares you just because you see the hardest pitching you’re going to see all year,” Carbone said. “The pitching we’re going to start facing, it’s still going to be good, but it’s not going to be Georgia pitching or something like that. It’s good especially from a hitting standpoint. All around, you just feel really prepared and confident.”

Following the string of tournaments, UMass is finally looking at an opponent in a similar position to them. The Terriers (11-14) have started the season in a similar way to the Minutewomen, traveling all over the country for tournaments against top-ranked opponents and even having a similar record to UMass.

“BU has been having a similar preseason to us, so it should be a pretty good game,” Carbone said. “I’m just excited to get another game in before conference play.”

BU holds the favor entering the matchup, having won the previous game between the teams last season. However, the Terriers are currently on a nine-game losing streak, though that doesn’t mean the Minutewomen are looking past them.

“We just need to go out there and compete,” senior Kaitlyn Stavinoha said. “They’re going to be tough – they always are. Every year it’s a good game with them. We have to just go out there and do the best we can to compete and keep our minds on just one game at a time.”

The Minutewomen will face Boston University at the BU Softball Field at 4 p.m on Wednesday.

Javier Melo can be reached at [email protected]

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