U of R’s new athletic leaders
Author: bram lerat – contributor
One of the most successful teams in all of University of Regina Athletics in 2014 has been the Cougars Women’s Softball Club. The Cougars steamrolled through the 2014 season going 18-2 and finishing on top of the WSCA Standings. They followed their impressive regular season with a bronze medal finish at the Canadian Collegiate Softball Association National Championships. Their bronze medal finish qualified the women for next year’s nationals that is looking just as promising with the combination of young and veteran talent on the team.
Leading the Cougars through the year were veterans Mikaila Etheredge and Alyssa Taylor. Both players have previously spent four years playing ball in the United States for their respective colleges and the transition has only been positive.
Etheredge came over from Alabama and had an instant influence, as she was the recipient of the WCSA MVP award and was the leagues top hitter. When asked about her outstanding year, Etheredge credited it to her mental game.
“The biggest change I made in my approach to the game was to relax. It’s so easy to get in your own head and psych yourself out. I was always the player who put so much pressure on myself to reach almost unrealistic expectations. I told myself I wouldn’t do that here. I just wanted to have fun and play ball and that’s what this year was about for me. Just getting to do what I love.”
When asked about the team’s key to success, the league’s MVP had nothing but praise for the athletes around her.
“The biggest thing was that, as a team, we were so well-rounded. There wasn’t a weak spot in the lineup. There was no room for teams to work around anyone. That’s huge from an offensive perspective.”
While having the league’s top hitter and MVP on the team seems like a gift in itself, the Cougars also had the best pitcher in the league. Saskatchewan native Alyssa Taylor finished the regular season with 10 wins, 68 strikeouts and a 1.15 ERA. She carried this impressive consistency to nationals with three wins and led strikeouts with 23. Not to be known as a one-position player, Taylor also finished second in the league at batting, only behind Etheredge.
“I always wanted to be good, no matter where I played, so growing up my dad pushed me to become a good hitter as well. For me, I know everyone will have their off-days. Some days, you’re pitching isn’t the strongest, so I was able to balance that with being successful at the plate.”
As the team heads into the off-season, it seems like they can only get better. Taylor concluded by giving us her general thoughts on the season and what we should expect in the future.
“This season was definitely a learning season, just with new players and a different style of play. Obviously, we are striving to do better than this year [and] coming next season, I’m sure we will have the talent to do so. When someone was off, another player would step up and take the leadership role, which was nice to see with all the new faces joining the team!”
Congratulations on the great season women!