Random Thoughts: Expect Victory

Remember the old mantra from the 1995 Rose Bowl Football team? "Expect Victory?" That attitude seems to have found its way across the athletic complex to raise the bar for Northwestern's Women athletes...

Expect victory
We've heard a lot of talk this weekend [mostly on ESPN] about how the NU Softball team hangs out with the now 2 time National Champion Lacrosse team.

Then today's Trib talks about how Alexis Prousis - half of NU's latest Tennis National Champs - is quoted extensively about how she spends a lot of time a Drysdale Field when she isn't playing Tennis, watching her friends play Softball.

Besides the support, Coach Kate Drohan credited the attitude of the Lacrosse team - they expected to win the NCAA's again this year and would settle for nothing less - as helping raise the bar for her team on the Softball Diamond this past Spring.

In the past we've knocked former Football coach Gary Barnett for various things, but the one thing he did instill in the Football program was an expectation of winning.

That attitude appears to have effected how NU hired its latest round of women's coaches. Starting with Women's Fencing Coach Laurie Schiller, continuing with Tennis' Claire Pollard, then Lacrosse's Amonte Hiller and the coaches Drohan, then AD Rick Taylor brought in or promoted top talent, then set about getting the facilities upgrades needed to attract top players.

This process continues now under Athletic Director Mark Murphy.

What is so interesting to me is that the women "get it."

They seem to understand that there will be life after sports and that NU degree will give them an added benefit way beyond just playing 4 years of college ball.

The NU Women athletes have show the men the way, and in some ways "thrown down the gauntlet" challenging the men's teams to step it up a notch.

Expect Victory started on the southwest corner of the athletic complex in what is now Ryan Field. Now it needs to return.
I was pretty impressed with ESPN announcing crew until Sunday:
  • One of the announcers referred to NU's Third Baseman Darcy Sengewald as a "third baseperson." When I first did softball tournaments I asked about positions and was told emphatically that the names were the same as in baseball. At least the Oklahoma stadium announcer got it right.
  • Then the same analyst was making a big point about how the corners [1st & 3rd] should be playing the foul lines but used Sengewald's 6th inning error as an example. Problem was the ball was hit directly at Sengewald, had she been playing the lines, the ball would have wound up in the outfield.
  • And then that same announcer tried to second guess the Drohans about outfielder placement, not that it mattered.
  • She also complained about how wide the strike zone had become late in the game - maybe the umps should be able to toss the announcers?
I've long been a critic of television's fixation on having a packed booth full of experts to analyze what you just saw happen. Some of the best spring coverage on WNUR was the solo announcer at the Big 10 tournament - he was great! Anyway it seemed that this TV analyst was doing a little press box rooting for UCLA along with her commentary

In case they don't know, NU's coach, Kate Drohan has a chart she keeps during the games and I'm sure it provides her and the team with information on who hits the ball where, etc. I've been told that dugout scorekeepers can help a team get 2 or 3 outs a game by helping to position fielders.

In any case, the analyst comments riled me up more than some of the blown calls by the umpires.

Maybe Its the "NU isn't any good, so they shouldn't be getting any calls" syndrome we see all the time in Football and Basketball. I think those days are fast departing - finally -

Because the Fencers, LAXers, Tennis Doubles, and Softball teams are raising the bar high in Evanston.

"Expect Victory" isn't just for Football anymore.
-- da Coach

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