Photo by John Nakano

Courtney Ziese, now in her fourth year with the Jackets’ softball team, sat down with the Technique to share her feelings about the sport along with her thoughts on the team’s outlook for the 2016 season.

Technique: How had your team been preparing coming into this year?

Ziese: Our emphasis has been on team bonding this year, so we built our chemistry a lot over the fall and got to know each other. I think it’s going to translate well onto the field, just knowing how to play with each other could give us an advantage in the game.

Technique: Do you think it has worked so far?

Ziese: You know, I think so. I think we’re at a better starting point than we were last year. I think we’re all on the same page, and we have the same goal in mind. We’re obviously off to a slower start than we would like, but I think good things are still to come.

Technique: What are your personal goals for this season?

Ziese: Obviously, I want to have a good senior year, both hitting and in the field. Honestly, I just want to compete with my team, and I guess a measurable goal of that would be to go to the ACC tournament. We weren’t invited last year. If we go to the ACC tournament, we could prove that we are one of the best teams in the conference.

Technique: You led the team in home runs last season. What was the biggest reason for that success on deep balls?

Ziese: When I go up to bat, I’m not even thinking about trying to hit a home run. I am literally trying to think nothing and just be calm. Last year, I was more confident in myself and more trusting in my ability, and I think that helped translate into my performance. This year I’m trying to do the same thing: just be confident in myself and carry over that success from last year towards more success this year.

Technique: Do you expect to post similar numbers this year?

Ziese: That’s the plan.

Technique: What are your expectations for the team’s performance this season?

Ziese: Just to compete in every game that we’re in and go to the ACC tournament and prove that we’re supposed to be there.

Technique: How is the team going to break out of this slump?

Ziese: Honestly, I just think it’s going to take that one win. We started off slow, and we’re all kind of like, “what the heck is going on?” But once we get that first win, things will come naturally, and we’ll finally relax and get the ball rolling. We just need that one win to set things off for us.

Technique: What can you and your teammates learn from this losing streak?

Ziese: We can learn a lot. Softball is a game of failure, and we can take things from every game that we’ve lost. It could even help us going in to this weekend. We’ve been in close games, and we’ve had an extra inning game and just lost by one run a few times. If we can just take small things from each game and translate them into the next game, it will help us be successful.

Technique: How would you describe your role on the team?

Ziese: I’d like to say that I’m a leader but not exactly the most vocal one on the field. I like to take my experience and help the younger class to get us all on the same page. I’m a firm believer that once you’re on the softball field, everyone is the same age, and everyone has the ability to be there. My role is just taking my experience and trying to give the younger class that confidence and let them know that they’re just as good as anyone else.

Technique: What is your favorite softball memory?

Ziese: I don’t know if I can pinpoint just one; just moments like being silly in the dugout with the team and friendships that I’ve made over the past four years that I will never forget. I guess my favorite memory is being around the team all the time.

Technique: What is your least favorite thing about softball?

Ziese: Probably losing those close games since we are right in it. No one likes to lose.

Technique: What’s one aspect of softball that most people may not know about?

Ziese: I didn’t even realize the importance of this until college, but the mental game and how
important it plays into everything. You think it’s as simple as going out there, hitting a ball and playing catch, and we wish it could be that easy sometimes. But you have to be mentally strong and realize that things aren’t going to go your way sometimes, and you’ll have to deal with it.