Syracuse adjusts to starting season with 25 consecutive road games

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Correction: In a previous version of this article, the number of consecutive games was misstated. The schedule calls for 25 consecutive road games. The Daily Orange regrets this error.Twenty-five consecutive games on the road is a daunting task that no sports schedule should ever allow.But for the Syracuse softball team, that scheduling nightmare is a reality.As the Orange (5-10) prepares to get its first taste of Atlantic Coast Conference play at North Carolina (8-8, 2-1 ACC) this weekend, the schedule calls for seven more consecutive road games to round out the grueling stretch.Syracuse will face the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill, N.C., in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. Saturday and a single game at noon Sunday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It’s tough,” senior outfielder Alexis Partyka said. “It’s even more so tough when we go from the last game of a tournament to the night before our first game of the next one without stepping foot on a real field.”The Orange is forced inside the confines of Manley Field House every day due to the thick layer of snow covering Skytop Softball Stadium, the seldom-used home of the Orange.Teammates agreed with Partyka, including fellow outfielder Mary Dombrowski. Both said that the experience of getting a fly ball in the sun, or caught up in the wind, is something that can’t be replicated indoors.Head coach Leigh Ross tried to downplay the significance of not getting a substantial amount of time on a real field.“I don’t think it takes too long to adjust,” Ross said. “You don’t have to be outside to work on your swing, pitch a strike or make a throw to first base.“I think there’s a little bit of a transition, but not much.”Sophomore shortstop Corinne Ozanne is expected to anchor the infield defense, playing at one of the most demanding positions on the diamond.Playing on a real dirt field can bring about an infinite amount of ways the ball will react when hitting it — but you don’t get that when practicing on a turf field.“You can take as many reps as you want on the turf,” Ozanne said,” But you’re getting a perfect hop every time.“Nothing’s the same.”While the travel may be a grind, the girls use the time together to become closer with one another. From going out for team dinners at local restaurants to the short amount of leisure time spent at the pool, the players bond through their experiences.The highlights of the team’s previous tournament in Orlando, Fla., included a national audience watching the Orange’s game against No. 19 Missouri, which was streamed on ESPN3 and a team photo shoot with ESPN.“If anything, I think the travel helps us,” Dombrowski said. “You get a lot closer to the new girls on the team and build better relationships with the ones you’ve played with for a while.”The “new girls” on the SU squad include a group of seven freshmen, most of whom have never experienced a travel grind like the one they’re roughing now.Multiple players mentioned the challenges of being a student-athlete, a difficult undertaking in any measure that doesn’t get any easier when arriving back in Syracuse at 1 a.m., seven hours before your 8 a.m. class begins, as Ozanne mentioned.Ross thinks it all comes down to each player’s mind-set about the travel. She expects her players to take the constant travel in stride and have it turn them into better softball players.With more than two weeks remaining before SU is slated to take the field at home for the first time, Ross raved about the confidence she has in her group to rally behind one another and “press the reset button.”“Having a team that is really buying into everything,” Ross said, “You can’t ask for much more.” Comments Published on March 6, 2014 at 1:22 am Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossmanlast_img

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