Wednesday, May 14, 2003
Massachusetts Head Coach Elaine Sortino
"Our UMass team is sort of balanced by class. I think we've got great leadership in our senior class from the likes of the player sitting next to me Emily Robustelli, who is our conference player of the year. Another primary leadership factor goes over to our pitcher Kaila Holtz on the mound. We're thrilled to be here. It's been a very difficult season for us because of the weather. We lost a lot of games to the weather. It's been very very difficult to practice. It sort of felt like you were stuck in the mud for about two months. We just couldn't get going. So we're thrilled to be here. I thought that our conference championship, unlike some previous years, it was really nip and tuck games. Our conference is better. All of our teams this year that were at our conference championship were regionally ranked so I think it was good preparation for the pressure cooker of an NCAA tournament."
Southern Illinois Head Coach Kerri Blaylock
"First of all we are just very tickled to be here and get an at large berth. We came into our conference tournament as the second seed and we played two games where we played atypical ball. We're very young. We have three seniors, one of those a pitcher. We are a pitching dominated team, always kind of have been. Sitting next to me is one of our pitchers, Amy Harre. She is a two-time first team all conference player and she is only a sophomore. Pitching and defense has been kind of our forte. We are hitting the ball a lot better this year. We've got some new talent, both freshmen and transfers. We like being down in Tuscaloosa. We're comfortable here. We played down here in February and we absolutely loved it. So we are glad to be back in this atmosphere."
Stanford Head Coach John Rittman
"First I would like to thank all the people at Alabama for hosting this regional. By the looks of the stadium and just the hospitality that the people here in Tuscaloosa have shown us already, this is going to be a great regional site. We feel like we've worked extremely hard to get to this point. We've played 48 games out of our 64 against teams in the tournament. We feel like we have prepared ourselves as well as we could during the course of the season. Obviously playing in the Pac-10 conference presents challenges of its own. But I think outside of our conference we played a very tough schedule. We've had some ups and downs. We've battled through some adversity with injuries. We lost eight one run games in the conference and that can be frustrating as well. But I think our seniors, one of them sitting here next to me Kira Ching, they've been through a lot in their four years. This will be their fourth regional. They've been to the College World Series. They understand that the road is very difficult to get to the College World Series. Coming into a regional like this, we respect everybody. It takes a lot of talent and you have got to be a good team to make it this far.
Chattanooga Head Coach Frank Reed
"We were down early in the month to play Alabama. They were a great a host a very gracious. We are very happy to be here. We have been to four regionals. Probably last year was our best showing. We had three big wins there. We've had three major knee injuries to key players on our team this year. It's been a really up and down year for us. Our conference, the Southern Conference is getting much much stronger. The thing that we were talking about earlier today is that the teams on the east coast do not get to play as much tough competition as maybe as west coast team does. I think that is a little disadvantage to us. We've played 14 teams in the tournament this year and had some pretty good showings at times and pretty bad showings at times. We've been very inconsistent and that has to do with having younger players and three major positions we've had to replace from last year: a centerfielder, a catcher, and one of our big hitters. We have tried to replace them with younger players and for the most part we see a lot of promise. We are capable of playing very good times and very bad but hopefully the tournament will bring out the very best."
Illinois Head Coach Terri Sullivan
"This is our first time to come to Alabama and I guess it couldn't be a better time. We are really excited to be here for our first regional appearance. We are in our third year in the Big Ten. Our initial goal was to be as competitive as possible as soon as possible in the conference and then ultimately to be nationally competitive. We've tried each year to make our nonconference schedule as tougher and ironically we have played several of the teams that are here so it is exciting to be at this site. Our team is based on just what the word team means. We are looking forward to playing some good softball here with everybody else as well."
Georgia Tech Head Coach Kate Madden
"We are excited to be here. The last couple of weeks we haven't played as well as we have wanted to so going into the regional, not getting the automatic bid, we weren't sure if were going to get a bid based on how we had played at the end of the season. We are thrilled to be here and I told the girls that we really deserved it."
Southern Head Coach Nancy Marshall
"We are a seven year program. This is our second regional tournament. We got off to a slow start but our season shaped up after awhile and we played well in our conference tournament. We play very aggressive softball. We are just happy to be here."
Alabama Head Coach Patrick Murphy
"I relish the opportunity to show off our facility and hospitality of Alabama. It's not often that you get a collection of conferences. A lot of the teams won't come here and play but when they are forced to come it's kind of nice because they get to see what kind of facilities we have."