bleedCrimson.net: Your team lost the first game on Friday against San Jose State in a similar manner to which you've lost a lot of your games this year, by one run. How difficult was it to lose the game that way and what was the mood of the team afterwards as you were preparing for the doubleheader on Saturday?
Kathy Rodolph: We went back to the hotel that night and we catered in dinner and we just had a team only night and had a meeting about an hour later and just talked about all the things that we felt like we had done really well in that game. There was a lot more that we'd done right than we'd done right so we just wanted to stay very positive, stay very aggressive and just capitalize on a couple things we maybe didn't in game one. We came out on day two very determined and I felt like pretty much the whole weekend, except the end of the first game, we played great defense, Carissa did a great job in the circle of really keeping them off balance and we had some big hits when we needed them.
bc.net: The first game of the doubleheader, you clinched your in the tournament and in the bottom of the seventh you got maybe one of the biggest double plays in the history of Aggie softball which effectively ended their chances of beating you in that game.
KR: Alex Newman in the circle is an outstanding fielder. She's the kind of kid that doesn't seem to get too high or too low. It was definitely a shot, a comebacker to her and she just very poised, fielded and got us out of it.
bc.net: The second game of the doubleheader, you went extra innings to get the win. You had secured your spot in the tournament but how important was it to go out get that win and head into the tournament continuing the momentum you have been building since about midway through the conference season?
KR: I think it was huge. We had six heartbreaking one run losses and to be able to hold and swing that back our way mentally was definitely something we needed and I think it's definitely given us the momentum we need to come back home and come out and make a strong showing on Wednesday.
bc.net: I'm sure there are five other teams in the field that did not want to see you qualify for the tournament with it being on your home field. Your first game is against Boise State, you faced them to begin the conference season but your team was a lot different when you faced them the first time.
KR: I've got to tip my hat to Boise State, they swept us there and it's extremely hard to sweep a series. I feel like we were not playing well at all and really struggling both in the circle and offensively when we saw them. I feel like our team is in a different place now and has been ever since the Fresno series. We started to get our wheels under us. We couldn't quite get the breaks that we needed to go ahead and win the games but all of the sudden we knew we were playing a lot better. Hitting at least one home run in each of the last five games and really doing a good job of keeping hitters off balance in the circle. It's good to have another opportunity to play Boise and see what'll happen.
bc.net: Your team is actually now one of the hotter teams going into the tournament. What's the mindset of your team and how excited are they to play in the tournament?
KR: The best thing is the kids got finals out of the way last week and so they can totally focus on softball now and that in itself is a huge place that we haven't been before because last year and the previous years the WAC tournament was the week of finals. Honestly, we had a point in our season that we had to decide whether we were going to continue to play for something or if we were going to pack it in. I'm extremely proud of these guys because they decided that they wanted more out of this year's team and they decided to get after it and go to work and try to earn that respect back that they don't feel like they started off with early in the conference. Luckily for us a lot of stuff started to happen where we were able to put our own fate back in our hands. Going into San Jose, San Jose is a much improved team from last year. They beat Oklahoma, they beat some good people this year and are a very tough, very talented team. We knew going in there to play them on their home field and have to hold, we were going to have to be playing well. That's exactly what we think right now. We're playing well, we're playing together, we've got high energy, we've got high confidence again and we just want to see how far we can take this.
bc.net: In the past heading into the conference tournament you were in a situation where you only had one person to go to. This year you've had a lot of people start in the circle, Carissa has pitched really well the past two weekend and Alex Newman has been a big stopper for you guys. How is this year different from it's been in the past?
KR: In the past Kim [Watson] had already thrown 200-plus innings and everybody I have has thrown 60 to 70 innings. We're definitely in a place that we have a lot fresher arms than we've had in the past and we truly do have a staff. Whereas in the past, every game that we were going to try to win, the only one we really felt like could truly hold us in the game was Kim. Carissa and Alex have gotten great experience and they've toughened up this season. They've started to cut down on the walks, they've started to really pitch instead of just throw. I also really expect Torrey to be able to help us out this weekend and expect that her experience needs to come into play as well as continue to have Sydney give us some help in the circle. I definitely believe we are probably utilizing more kids than anyone else and hopefully that will pay off in kids not being exhausted.
bc.net: Out of all of the teams that are in the tournament, aside from the last two games against Hawai'i, you've played everyone in the field very competitively this season. You also played Hawai'i competitively in this first game. With your team being at home, do you feel like your team is considered a darkhorse?
KR: A couple of years ago Louisiana Tech went in as one of the lower seeds over in Hawai'i and were really playing well and had a lot of momentum going in their favor and came out on top and won it. We believe that if things go right and we really leave it up to us, maybe the same thing can happen for us.