Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Still the bride’s maid

The Lady Owls have made it a tradition to win the Atlantic Sun conference. They have accomplished that feat eight years in row. For the past six years the championship has meant an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Sadly for the Owls, that bid has turned into six years of being the bride’s maid to the Women’s College World Series.

The ultimate goal of college softball has haunted the Lady Owls, as they have struggled in the tournament losing in the first game the last three years. Since the tournament is a double-elimination event the Lady Owls had a chance to rebound, but as coach Joan Joyce told the Sun-Sentinel, “It’s very hard coming out of that hole.”

The loss also marks the third time in as many years that a sixth seed has eliminated the team from competition. To put this in perspective, the Lady Owls have entered the Regional tournament with a first, fifth, and third seed respectively the last three years.

Why have the Lady Owls not advanced to the Women’s College World Series?

Maybe it’s the pitching.

Sure, Candice Freel had an outstanding year with an ERA under one, but maybe pitching in 35-plus innings in the A-Sun tournament tired her out.

Against Creighton, Freel allowed an out-of-the-ordinary home run while the team gave up a season-high in runs for a 6-2 loss.

But, then how could she have thrown her 17th shutout of the season a day later in a 1-0 victory over Mississippi State.

OK maybe it’s the backup pitching.

Amanda Morin would have started for almost every other Division I team this year as she posted an ERA of just over one. In the regional she came through by throwing a two-hit shutout against Lehigh to avoid elimination. Then in the Lady Owls final game, Morin pitched a nearly perfect game aside from one pitch. That pitch was the deciding home run in a 1-0 loss to Creighton.

So maybe it’s the hitting.

This is very probable as the Lady Owls scored only six runs in four games. In the A-Sun tournament the Lady Owls only scored more than one run in two of their five games, two in one and seven in the other.

But, why then were the Lady Owls able to advance on back-to-back bunts by their top two hitters to set up the lone run in their third game of the regional against Mississippi State? I would hate to place blame on the hitters, with power hitters coming through with clutch bunts.

Maybe it’s the pressure.

The Lady Owls have been on the brink of elimination at almost every turn when it comes to tournament play. The team won two straight at this year’s and last year’s regional before falling in their third attempt to stay alive. In A-Sun action the team won three elimination games in each of the past two years to win the championship.

How many times can you get ready for the last game of the year before it’s the last game of the year?

Coach Joyce told the Sun-Sentinel, “We have to take care of business.”

Well then, I guess all of these factors go into why the Lady Owls are again just a bride’s maid.

Next year they can try to rotate pitchers more often, especially since their ERA’s and winning percentages are so similar. They can work on getting the clutch home run or single instead of relying on bunts. That will translate into more runs to take pressure off of the squad. And finally, if they take care of business in game one of tournaments then maybe there will have a more laid back approach to the rest of the games since they won’t be on the verge of going home.

The important thing to remember is that every bride’s maid eventually becomes the bride. The question to ask then is, will they have what it takes to make it as the bride next year?

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