This weekend it all has to come together for the softball team.
After notching a .500 record in its first three tournaments of the season, Princeton (7-7) hosts the Princeton Invitational, the Tigers home opener, this weekend.. Robert Morris, Boston College and Hofstra – the No. 2 team in the East – will travel to 1895 Field to face the Tigers in two days of action.
The tournament represents a valuable opportunity for Princeton to earn a solid winning record and work out the early-season problems it has been experiencing before the start Ivy play and the pursuit of a NCAA berth.
One aspect of the Tigers' strategy that head coach Cindy Cohen is concentrating on is their mental game. Instead of reacting quickly to game situations, the team is hesitating on the field. Princeton also needs to keep talking to one another during games.
"We're right there physically but we're making mental mistakes," sophomore outfielder Jen McCoy said. "We need to communicate more."
At the plate, the Tigers want to utilize the bunt more often to be more effective on offense and to convert change-up pitches into solid hits more successfully. Cohen will look to freshman infielder Devon Keefe, who leads the team with a .307 batting average this season, and senior outfielder Bevin Keenen, who has 19 RBI, to lead the team's offensive attack this weekend.
On the mound, No. 1 pitcher Lynn Miller should continue her strong start. Miller has compiled a 0.91 earned run average through seven games and could prove a deciding factor in any Tiger victories.
Defensively, Princeton hopes to decrease its disturbing number of errors. At the Winthrop Invitational March 21 and 22, the Tigers had eight miscues against Wichita State, four against UNC-Wilmington and two against Dayton.
"We're averaging too many (errors) a game," Keenen said. "More than one a game is too many."
Overall, the Tigers are looking to put together three consistent games and end the weekend as tournament champions, performing strongly in all aspects of play.
"We're trying to bring everything together," Keenen said.
Hofstra, currently ranked second in the East ahead of Princeton, which stands fifth, should prove the toughest challenge for the Tigers. Winning the tournament would not only provide momentum before Ivy play begins but will ensure Princeton's place among the top teams in the region.
"These teams are all ranked in the East and hopefully we'll get our defense on track and everything will come together," McCoy said.