On this edition of In The Circle, Eric Lopez talks with Minnesota’s Head Coach Jessica Allister who entering her 7th season with Gophers talks about the upcoming 2017 season.
Among the topics Allister discusses include
- Outlook for Gophers 2017 season
- What makes Sara Groenewegen impact player that she is
- Is this the deepest pitching staff Allister has had at Minnesota?
- Sam Macken leadership on team
- Who are the newcomers that will make biggest impact?
- Who were big influences in Allister’s career?
- Outlook in Big 10 this season
- What changes if any would Allister make to Softball?
- Impact of weather on scheduling
Minnesota finished 2016 season with a 43-14 overall record and won their second Ten Tournament championship in three years defeating Michigan. Gophers fell in the Seattle Regional final to Washington after their program record fourth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The Gophers return nine players from last year’s team led by Sara Groenewegen who went 31-7 in her junior season in 2016 with a 2.03 ERA and 336 strikeouts. Groenewegen hit .296 with seven doubles, 11 home runs and 41 RBI as well earning All-American status for the second consecutive season becoming the 4th Gopher to have been an All-American on it least multiple occasions. Groenewegen ended the year as a top 10 finalist for Player of the Year in College Softball also for the second straight year. Groenewegen won the Big Ten Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player helping the Gophers win the Big 10 Tournament and defeating the Wolverines in the championship game.
The Golden Gophers are ranked in the USA Softball Top-25 preseason poll with a No. 14 ranking and 16 in the NFCA poll. Minnesota finished with a No. 20 ranking in the NFCA poll and a No. 19 ranking in the USA Softball poll in 2016.