Feb. 14, 2014
SAN DIEGO -
Head coach Kathy Van Wyk
"We're right in the middle of our Campbell/Cartier Classic and really looking forward to some good games tonight. South Dakota will get us warmed up for a ranked California team. We're looking very strong. We've got a better hitting team than we've ever had. If we can keep (Danielle) O'Toole healthy and pitching well in the circle like she did last night, we're going to give Cal and a lot of ranked teams a run for their money as the season goes on. We've got a lot of ranked teams on the horizon, so hopefully this weekend we'll continue to clean things up and look better and better for those opponents."
On if she expected to be 5-1 at this point in the season:
"I expected to be 6-0 at this point. But yes, I think we're absolutely one of the best teams we've ever had. One thing we have this year that we haven't had before is we've got better hitting up and down the lineup. We've got pop all the way through, 1-9. Danielle O'Toole is going to be as good as any pitcher we've ever seen, and she's only a sophomore. She's only going to get better. She throws the ball real hard, but kills them with her changeup. We're sloppy on defense right now, but it's so early in the season you think it's only going to get better and better. We have a team that can play with anybody in the country right now."
On senior outfielder Patrice Jackson:
"She's just getting better and better, and it's maturity. She's a leader by example for everyone, that's a huge spot for us. My goal right now is to help bolster the lineup so we can protect her. That's why we had Hayley Miles hitting behind (Jackson) last night."
On what Jackson brings to the team:
"When we first started recruiting (Jackson), she knew she wanted to come out to the west coast. She was fresh and very raw, so she's been a sponge pulling everything in and learning. She's been a great example for all the youngsters on the team."
On the team's goal for this season:
"We've got to get by the first round (of the NCAA Tournament). We want to go on to Super Regionals and then the College World Series. I think that's a very realistic goal with this team. We've put the third thing together, and that's hitting. It's always been a difficult thing for us. We've had the pitching and defense, but we've got the hitting going and I think that is going to be a big key."
On what aspects O'Toole has improved in:
"She's faster. She's throwing harder and that's partly because of her confidence level. We've clocked her at 68 mph, but when you put that with the changeup she has, she's deadly. She keeps the ball down and that will keep (hitters) in the ball park most of the time. That's a huge factor. But her poise in the circle is unmatched. She's unflappable. It doesn't matter what's happened, she goes right at them. She's not afraid to face any hitter and challenge them."
On the progress and performance of her freshmen:
"I'm impressed with Sydnee Cable. We knew she was a good hitter, but she's exceeded our expectations. She comes through in clutch situations and has turned out to be the perfect person in the five-hole behind either (Jackson) or (Miles). She backs them up and if she keeps hitting the way she is, teams are going to have to think twice about pitching around the others to get to her. Frankie Orland behind the plate as a catcher defensively has done an outstanding job. I think she gives the pitchers confidence. I'd like to see more out of our freshmen pitchers, but they'll get another shot this weekend. Nerves got in the way a lot last weekend, so hopefully they'll settle down and continue to get better."