Ole Miss softball is looking to reach new heights in 2014.
Jan. 31, 2014
This is part five of a five-part series previewing the 2014 Ole Miss softball season. Part five takes a broader outlook on the upcoming 2014 season. Part four looked at the Rebels’ outfield, while part three was on the Ole Miss infield. Part two focused on the Ole Miss pitching staff, and part one was on the Rebels’ coaches and schedule.
OXFORD, Miss. – After the Ole Miss softball team closed out the 2013 season with a pair of emphatic victories, the team huddled together one final time. It was in that huddle that one season finished, and the next season began.
“It was said in the final postgame huddle, ‘We want more,’ ” Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees recalled. “Yeah, we had a lot of people telling us how great we were doing and how much better we’ve been than we have ever been before, but our players actually got frustrated with that. You don’t want to be congratulated when you didn’t make the goals you set out for yourself, even if they were harder and higher than the program has ever reached before.”
Throughout the fall and spring, the Rebels kept that in mind as they worked on and off the field. Returning eight of nine starters from a season ago, paired with a strong incoming class, the future is bright in Oxford for the softball program, and Thees has more options at her disposal than she’s ever had before.
“It’s going to be an exciting year for me to figure out how to use our depth effectively and making more switches than I’ve ever had to make, which is a great problem to have when you have so many talented kids,” Thees said. “It will be more about the best matchup and the best defense against certain teams and the best offense against certain teams.”
One trait Thees is particularly excited about with this year’s team is its versatility, a trait she says she looks for in prospective student-athletes when recruiting. Now, with so many players on the roster who can play multiple positions, Thees said she has enjoyed scrimmaging and switching people around the field to different positions and the players not lose a step.
With so much depth on the Ole Miss roster, along with that versatility, that daily competition has raised the bar in performance and focus, or as Thees calls it, “focused fun.”
“If you over-focus and don’t have fun, you’re going to stress out, fail and wallow in it and get some head cases happening. Then if you don’t focus and you just have fun you’re not going to care as much. You want to have that focused fun. That’s the key to winning and really, really enjoying your sport.”
The NCAA Tournament, as always, remains the No. 1 goal for the softball team. With a nation-leading eight Southeastern Conference teams being ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Division I preseason top 25 poll, the conference season will be as challenging and exciting as ever.
“We want to achieve higher goals for Ole Miss than has ever been reached before,” Thees said. “We want to be that first program to do a lot of things. This year, we need to make the SEC Tournament and we need to make the NCAA Tournament because that’s something we have the potential to do.”
So now with the 2014 season just one week away, the Rebels want one thing: More.
“We’ve tried to make sure we incorporate that into everything we do,” Thees said.
Ole Miss meets Mississippi State on the hardwood the for 250th time Wednesday, which makes it the most-played rivalry in the Southeastern Conference. Like the rivalry in football, where the road team last won in 2010, the home team has... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewJan. 20-26, 2015Men's Basketball - Senior guard Jarvis Summers scored 4 points in the final 26.6 seconds to lift Ole Miss to a 72-71 victory over Florida Saturday. Summers scored a team-high 16 points, including... read more
Classes started on the Ole Miss campus this past week, as the men's and women's basketball teams enter the heart of Southeastern Conference play. Some of the spring sports have started their 2015 seasons, while others are gearing up for... read more
Former Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt capped an impressive week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, with a game-high five tackles in the game itself Saturday. His former teammate, cornerback Senquez Golson sat out the game with a hamstring... read more
Ole Miss closes out a three-game stretch in which they will have faced three consecutive ranked opponents when they welcome No. 18 Mississippi State on Thursday night. The Rebels are 1-1 through the first two games of the stretch, having... read more
Photo GalleryCody Prewitt and Senquez Golson will represent Ole Miss in the Senior Bowl, which will take place Saturday at 3 p.m. CT from Mobile, Alabama, and will be televised by the NFL Network. The duo have already had a busy... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewJan. 13-19, 2015Men's Basketball - Ole Miss thrashed No. 19 Arkansas 96-82 on Saturday. The Rebels picked up their first true road win over a ranked opponent since 2003 and scored the second-most points ever... read more
The Ole Miss men's and women's basketball teams both made some history, while the men's and women's tennis teams started their spring seasons. National Signing Day (Feb. 4) and the start of baseball season (Feb. 13) are less than a... read more
After an up-and-down non-conference slate that included wins over Creighton, Cincinnati and Oregon, all away from home, and losses to Charleston Southern and Western Kentucky, both at home, Ole Miss learned a lot about itself in the first week of... read more
Ole Miss football finished the 2014 football season with a 9-4 record and a top-20 final national rankings in both polls. The Rebels come in at No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and No. 19 in the Amway Coach... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewJan. 6-12, 2015Women's Basketball - Ole Miss went 2-0 on the week with a road win at Florida and a win at home against Alabama, moving to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in SEC action while... read more
The Ole Miss men's basketball team opened SEC play, while the Ole Miss women's basketball team continued SEC play, as we enter the heart of college basketball season. Over the weekend, the men's and women's teams posted wire-to-wire wins on... read more
Ole Miss looks to reverse history, as the Rebels (9-4) travel to No. 1 Kentucky tonight (6 p.m., SEC Network), the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. Ole Miss is 0-15 all-time against the nation's top ranked team, last playing... read more