Kentucky-Utah Postgame Quotes

Utah Head Coach Amy Hogue 
Opening Statement …
“The last time we went this far they didn’t have super regionals. So this is a first time for the Utes, and these girls prepared to do it and they got it done today. I’m proud of them. ”
 
On being confident in scoring after having a runner on base in all but one inning in every game…
“We were confident. We just kept swinging. It gave us chances thinking that there were times this year where we second guessed a lot because we were afraid to miss. We just decided that swinging a lot was better because at some point were going to put it in play and at some point someone was going to make a mistake. So we scored a lot and got a couple of breaks and we scored a few up and it worked out.”

On what this win means for the program…
“We’ve been building something since I got here with these coaches. The last nine years has been a grind. Each year though, we’ve gotten better. The next step, the next page, was supers. And so we had a plan to get there and that’s what we talked about and that’s what we worked for. We took notes and tried to figure out what it was that other teams were doing that we weren’t doing that were getting there. So each year in our program we worked towards getting better and I think that’s why we got here. We’ve just taken it one step at a time. It takes a long time, but I feel like we’re established now and the sky’s kind of the limit now.”
 
On the play of Anissa Urtez…
“Anissa was great. We kept hoping she was up every inning. What’s fun is that everybody helped to win these games. Sometimes Anissa wasn’t up and someone helped us move a runner and someone scrapped a two-run, two-out hit. Our three run inning in the fifth was all two outs. We have nobody on with two outs and we scrapped and scrapped and scrapped and got into a situation where we could score runs. So I’m proud of all of those little things. It’s been fun because all year it’s been Anissa for us and she worked really hard for that. Last year wasn’t here favorite year and she worked hard all summer and made sure that never happened again. She came back and replaced an RBI leader that we graduated. That was a big load and she said ‘I’ll take it, I’ll do it.’ She might be at that RBI point that we talked about (55). She’s just been getting it done looking great in the box and hitting every pitch.”
 
On the nerves after Kentucky tried to make a run…
“With the confidence that we have in these kids it doesn’t get that big for us as coaches. It’s one pitch and Katie (Donovan) can throw that pitch. We can’t make it that big. We’re working on what’s next. We just stay on one pitch so that it doesn’t get that big. The only moment that I realized that it was as big of a moment for us was when the last hitter (Katie Reed) came up for us because I was here when she got the hit for us yesterday. I knew the confidence that she was coming to the plate with and that was in my mind.”

Utah Student-Athletes


#17 Anissa Urtez, SS
On what made here effective at the plate…
“Today I was just thinking to make contact and pick my pitch. I saw the ball really well so just picking a strike and hitting it. I knew we needed to score more runs so that’s what made me focus.”
 
On going into game two with optimism…
“We knew that we saw two of their best pitchers. We knew what we were facing and knew what we had to adjust to and knew that we just had to rally them because that’s all we could do. We just knew how to get going and how to get them rallied up.”

On the emotions after these wins…
“I think it’s a step up for the program. We worked really hard ever since my freshman year. Now we’re going to supers and in our minds we’re just two games away from going to the World Series. If we could make top 16, we can do anything.”

#13 Katie Donovan, P
On how having command of the strike zone changes her mindset when approaching batters…
“Knowing that I could throw a strike and they could hit it and our defense could pick it up gives us a lot of confidence going forward. That allows me to throw so many different pitches and I know that no matter where they hit it, I have eight player behind me that are going to do everything they can to make a play. So that just gives me a lot of different options.”
 
On going into game two with optimism…
“We knew the first game really put us in a good position because they had to play another game. We lost game one but we had another chance. Having that second chance was obviously key to what we did today.”

Kentucky Head Coach Rachel Lawson
Opening Statement …
“Well, first I want to congratulate Utah, I thought they played great today. They’ve really done a lot with their program over the last couple years and to go onto super regionals is awesome, it’s special and they really did a great job today. I thought today was a great day for softball, both teams played really hard. We played well. Both teams had their backs against the wall several times and it was a back-and-forth battle both games so I think that both teams need to feel really good about what they accomplished here. I feel like it was one of the most evenly matched regionals in the country in terms of two teams. I thought both teams played well, both teams made great plays, both teams had a couple of missed queues, so I think overall it was an awesome softball game to watch. I know I’m only supposed to talk about today, but I would be remiss if I didn’t thank, usually I thank the people where I go, but I think this regional was run really well. From the standpoint of, I thought that the NCAA representative did an awesome job of getting the games played as best as she could and making sure we had a great championship game. I thought our staff at Kentucky was exceptional. I thought our grounds crew, our video crew, our event staff, everybody, our equipment staff, everybody just did such a great job of trying to make all four teams, try to give them the best chance of having the best possible postseason they could have had. I thought considering all of the elements I wanted to thank everybody for doing that. But I thought today, we are disappointed we are not moving on but we want to congratulate Utah and we wish them the best.”
 
On what impact having three games yesterday had on them …
“Well, I’m not a student-athlete so I don’t know, but I think, I’m sure fatigue is a big deal. One, we have never played three games in one day and then turn around and play two more. We have never played five games in two days, so I don’t know what the effect is. I do think that our team showed a lot of guts and a lot of grit. Physically, I thought we were pretty strong. Obviously it takes a toll on your pitching staff and I think that was kind of the case at the end of game two. I think our pitches weren’t as sharp as they could’ve been if we didn’t have to play so many games. So I think that was probably the biggest effect. Also I have to give a lot of credit to Jenny (Schaper), I can’t imagine being a freshman and being behind the plate and squatting so many times, and she was on point the entire time. I don’t believe there was a passed ball the entire weekend, if I’m not mistaken. So I think she did an exceptional job. So I’m sure it had an effect but I do believe that our team played very hard and I think we are very physically strong.”
 
On her senior class …
“I hate it when you do this. Yeah we were just talking about, it’s pretty, this is going to sound weird, but four years ago before this class started, to be up on a podium and talk about how we were ‘upset’ is unfathomable to this group because we were always the team that if we were to win, we were the ‘upset’. For us to have beaten a Pac 12 team to go onto a regionals, it didn’t happen very often. And now I think about what this program has become, we have opened up a brand new stadium, we have a ton of wins, we have been to three straight super regionals, we were in a Women’s College World Series, and there are softball players all over the country who never get to say that. It’s all because of this senior class, they came here to help bring the program to the next level. I think they have really done that. I know they don’t feel great right now, but I know they’re going to sit back and reflect and see exactly what they have accomplished. This will go down as one of the toughest groups because, again, what Kelsey (Nunley) was alluding to is that last year we made it to super regionals but it was hard. I felt like the program wasn’t where we wanted it. On paper we were ok, the locker room was ok, and it wasn’t the Kentucky team you saw. The way we played all season is really alluded to the senior class and their leadership and what they have accomplished. Looking back I will be really proud of this group and they’ll always be a big part of this program. I hope that returning players and future players I don’t even know about are going to be able to build on what this class has done. I believe they have grown us into one of the elite programs in the country. We are definitely among the top 20 in the country and hopefully the classes coming in will respect that and build on that and hopefully keep that tradition going.”
 
On having Meagan returning next season …
“It’s awesome. I was thinking about that today and this is an awesome senior class, but one of their legacies that they’ve left is that I would argue that our program has made a complete step in a better direction and a lot of that is our senior class, not only did Meagan do an outstanding job today, but we had a freshman batting second, a freshman batting fourth, a freshman batting fifth, and a sophomore batting sixth. So even though we had a great senior class we also had a lot of youth on your team. It was something we didn’t talk much about because they played like veterans. So I feel like the senior class has left us in good hands and we have a good team moving forward.”

Kentucky Student-Athletes


#33 Kelsey Nunley, P
On how much gas the pitchers had left in the tank for day three …
“She pretty much just said, mind over matter, just let your mind go before your body goes.” 
Coach Lawson: “Well actually she has that backwards. We always talk about we want to make sure our body gives out before our heart. You never want to be on the losing end of things as in you had more in the tank but you didn’t leave it out on the field. I think today was a case where I just felt like at the end we weren’t as sharp, but I think this is not so much a mental thing. That’s all you can really ask for when you’re an athlete.”
 
On the end of her career and what advice she would give to the underclassmen …
“Pretty much just be thankful every day to wake up and play the game that you love and you’re so thankful to be at such a great school as UK so you need to be thankful for that. You have to not take advantage of going to school at UK because it’s such a great place to be. You have so many people that care about you and help you, so you don’t need to take advantage of that. You really just have to take it all in and give it your all.” 
 
On how she will remember the season …
“Well it was a bounce back from last year so that was great. It didn’t end how we wanted it to, but really at the end of the day I’m just thankful that I was able to play at UK.”

#5 Meagan Prince, P
On today being the most innings she has thrown in her career at Kentucky …
“That first game felt good, felt sharp, felt on point. The second game I felt a little tight, but once I stepped on the mound the adrenaline kicked in and you just have to think about the pitch and that’s it. Once the game started there wasn’t really a physical ailment that kept me from wanting to play the game and wanting to pitch and wanting to get that strikeout.”

#6 Jenny Schaper, C
On what she learned during her freshman year …
“I think the importance of a team, I’ve really learned about that. Even when we would get down everyone was there for each other. I know when we went down I really needed to be there for my team and step up as much as possible. I think you can take that into every year and next year I won’t be a freshman anymore so I can teach them what I was taught this year.”