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    Softball Ready for Rematch of Inaugural Game Against Radford
    Rene? LaCroix and the NC State defense have stepped up to help NC State to a 23-17 record.
    Rene? LaCroix and the NC State defense have stepped up to help NC State to a 23-17 record.

    April 2, 2004

    RALEIGH, N.C. - The NC State softball team will host Radford on Saturday, April 3 in what amounts to a rematch of the first softball game ever at NC State. Radford defeated the Wolfpack 1-0 on February 13 in the historic first game in program history. The doubleheader will start at 1:00 pm at the Walnut Creek Softball Complex.

    Many things have changed in just over a month and a half from that first game, as NC State stands strong with a 23-17 record and two tournament championships while currently riding a season-high six game win streak.

    "We have matured as a team and are playing with more confidence," head coach Lisa Navas said. "In that first game, our girls were timid and I think a little scared. We've changed the lineup around, and our pitching has improved along with a stable defense so we have been playing well."

    After a 4-10 start on the season, NC State has gone 19-7 with win streaks of four, five and the current six game explosion. Along the way, the Wolfpack have won some big games, including a 10-inning thriller against ACC rival Virginia in the championship game of the Hoo's Who Tournament.

    "They've exceeded my initial expectations to this point in the season," Navas said. "The girls have faced some tough situations and have dealt with the adversity with a great deal of confidence. I'm looking forward to getting into the ACC schedule and seeing how they deal with the talent level of the ACC."

    What makes the story even more impressive is a fact that becomes obvious when you glance down the roster. Of the 19 players on the team, fourteen are freshmen, with two sophomores, two juniors and a lone senior. When the season was young, the Wolfpack squad was also still maturing and adjusting to life in college, and in playing collegiate softball. While mistakes were inevitable, what bears pointing out is how the team has responded after the mistakes.

    "They don't make the same mistakes twice," coach Navas replied after commenting that this team is no longer playing like 14 freshmen. "The girls have a certain confidence, and when they make mistakes, they adjust and rise above that. We still makes mistakes, because that is a part of the game at any level. What we have to do is not repeat mistakes and to learn from our mistakes, and they have excelled at doing just that."

    With 40 games complete on the schedule, the Wolfpack will play 17 regular season games before the ACC Tournament on May 14-16. Ten of the remaining games are a part of the ACC doubleheaders against the other five teams in the conference; North Carolina (April 9), Maryland (April 10), Georgia Tech (April 17), Virginia (April 24) and against Florida State (May 1).

    Though the competition will increase, Navas expects that her players will remain confident and play at a high level.

    "I expect us to get better every step of the way and compete," Navas said. "I want to see us not bow down to the teams we play and step our games up. We need to prove that we can play with those teams."



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