Amid record-breaking season, Panthers put an emphasis on mental preparation
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KCRG) - For the first time in program history, the Northern Iowa softball team won back to back Missouri Valley Conference regular season titles.
“It’s great to see it happen when it matters on the field and to see our kids performing at the way they are,” UNI softball head coach Ryan Jacobs said.
UNI kicked off their final week of the regular season with a 4-2 victory over in-state rival Iowa. That win marked the Panthers first over the Hawkeyes since 2019.
“It really shows that we can produce and we can play with these high quality teams. For us, it shows we’re right were we need to be,” redshirt senior Brooke Snider said.
“It’s been a record-breaking season for the purple and gold. In addition to setting season records in doubles, home runs and batters struck out, they’ve also set a conference wins record with 25 and counting.
“Why stop now? Why stop when you’ve finished at the line? We always talk about finish through the line. Let’s see how much more we can do and we’ve got opportunities. We’re not going to waste them,” Jacobs said.
“I would say that we push each other. We really just go against each other. We know that our hardest competition is ourselves, so for us to go against each other and understand that we’re going to push each other to that line every time, that’s honestly why we’re breaking records. Everyone just knows their limits and we just want to continue to get better as we go,” Snider added.
Cleaning up their defense and getting their bats going early has been an emphasis for the Panthers this weekend.
“Making sure we’re not going through 9 hitters before we adjust. We have got to do a better job of seeing what’s happening to the first two or three hitters and make those adjustments,” Jacobs said.
As a team that’s played in the last three consecutive conference tournament championship games, but not come out on top, they’ve spent the last two weeks focusing on their mental preparation in hopes of a different outcome this postseason.
“We’ve started talking about postseason mindset, postseason preparation and postseason routines. Getting ourselves, no matter who we’re playing - getting yourself kind of hyped up a little bit. When we get there, we know it’s going to happen,” Jacobs said.
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