NCAA Regional Tournament; Cornell and Massachusetts Press Conference

May 14, 2009

AMHERST, Mass. - Cornell Head Coach Dick Blood
We've been off for about 8-10 days trying to prepare for this weekend. We've tried to keep ourselves fresh with intra-squad scrimmages. I think the last day we played was May 3. We're trying to stay as sharp as we can and we're excited to be here.

Coach Blood on 2004 NCAA run
It's helpful for me but none of the players on this squad played in that series. We've had a couple good years. Last year, we had a bitter pill to swallow when we were beat by Princeton in the last game on the season, knocking us out of the tournament. That was our motivation this year; 2004 is long gone.

Coach Blood on being an underdog
We have to have outstanding pitching, we have to keep the ball in the yard. At the same time, Brandice Balschmiter is a great pitcher and we have to be able to put the ball in play ourselves. A lot of things have to happen tomorrow. We have to keep the ball in the yard.

Meg Risica on home state of Massachusetts
It is great for me because a lot of my family and friends are going to be able to come. It's great to have that type of support and I'm very excited about it. I'm also excited to be representing the Ivy League.

Allison Intihar on Massachusetts
We're just really excited to be here, and we are going to go out there and give our best. We're going to play our game. We don't really know that much background on UMass, but we're just going to go out there and give our all.

Risica on Masschusetts
We do know that they have solid pitching, that is what we've been working on the past week. We've been working on our hitting all season. We're going to go out there and just play our game.

Intihar on great hitting
We have a great hitting coach, and we work hard all season. We also work hard in the winter, in the batting cages, we get in there and get an extra 100 cuts. I think that really pays off and has given us the extra yard this season.



UMass Coach Sortino on hosting a NCAA Regional
We are really happy to be here. It's a very exciting thing for us to see the lights out there. Tomorrow night is going to be a great night for us; it is going to be absolutely historic for our program because it's going to be the first time we have ever stepped foot under the lights in what we consider to be a beautiful softball field. We're looking forward to it, we're thrilled to be representing the Atlantic 10 and are looking forward to a strong regional championship.

Coach Sortino on Cornell
Since the weekend, we've learned that they're a very strong hitting team; quite frankly, all of Dick's teams are known to be that. He takes pride in their offense, they hit the ball and they're going to come out swinging. I'm not expecting anything less than a formidable matchup. It should be a pretty good game. Their pitcher is going to be moving the ball in-and-out and a little bit up. It will be a great matchup.

Carly Normandin on higher level of play
I think you just have to stick with what you've done all year. You need to stick with the gameplan that the coaches give us, and get the little things done right. We've had games where you need to learn from your mistakes, and obviously you need to minimize those mistakes to have the best chance to move on. I think that will be really important.

Whitney Mollica on postseason play
On top of that, we need to capitalize on every situation. If the other team makes a mistake, we need to capitalize on that. Hopefully we don't make too many ourselves. At this point in the year, other good teams are going to capitalize on your mistakes. That's a really important part to this upcoming weekend.

Coach Sortino on the strength of the Regional
You have Sacred Heart who has really come on strong during the last part of the year, winning the Northeast Conference tournament. We saw LIU the first weekend of the season, and we thought their pitching might have been done a little bit, but they hit the ball and took their hacks. We've seen them for many years, and I believe Sacred Heart is the hot team. Cornell is going to be steady, and they are what they are. We are looking for a very formidable matchup tomorrow night. I think they will bring a very strong offence, and Brandice is going to have to have at least an A game. We're going to have to play good defense. As far as Washington, you've seen all the hype. They're got a very strong defense. It starts on the mound with Danielle Lawrie. They've got a formidable pitching staff, they're well coached, they play in the PAC 10 so they've seen great competition all year. I think this is a very strong regional tournament.

Balschmiter on maturing over her career
I know from my freshman year until now, there is a greater maturity level and I have more focus on the mound. I talk about it all the time, but I always go back to that game against Northwestern where everything fall apart in the last inning. I wish I had the ability to focus more and slow myself down, take a step back off the mound and just relax. I should have said, "you're capable of doing this," and here I am four years later with the same opportunity.

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