April 5, 2012
With 32 games under their belts, five newcomers to the Arizona softball team know first hand how difficult it is transitioning from high school to elite, Division 1 College. Chelsea Goodacre, Hallie Wilson, Chelsea Suitos, Shelby Pendley, and Jessica Spignereach play a special role and contribute to her team in many ways.
In a completely new environment, freshman Chelsea Goodacreis surprised by how different the level of play is in college. The California native has to remind herself that it is still the same sport she grew up playing but at a different level of competition.
"So far it has been pretty good," Goodacre said. "It's different from what I expected, it's still softball. I just have to keep reminding myself that it's the same game no matter what."
The tradition of winning at Hillenbrand stadium has been carried on for years and nobody understands this better than freshman Hallie Wilson. Wilson hopes to continue this tradition and add on to her personal achievements as well.
"Hillenbrand holds a sense of history and accomplishment that I want to be able to add on to," Wilson said. "Playing here is both a prideful and honorable feeling. I love our stadium."
For freshman Chelsea Suitos, her decision to come to Arizona was based more on academics and the coaching staff. She red shirted last season after suffering from a torn labrum that made 2012 her first eligible year with the Wildcats.
"The facilities that Arizona offers are amazing," Suitos said. "The family environment in McKale is very reassuring. Academics played a huge role, obviously, but most importantly, Coach Candrea. All of the coaching staff is great and I love the winning tradition."
Freshman Shelby Pendleyappreciates the amount of support and dedication that the team is receiving from the fans.
"It's really cool to have that many people come out and support us," Pendley said. "We have an awesome field and it's great to see that we have so many fans that come to watch us play."
Senior newcomer Jessica Spignertransferred from the University of Tennessee and chose Arizona to play her last year of softball. Spigner did not choose Arizona strictly for the softball program, but the environment in Tucson.
"Arizona is an elite school," Spigner said. "I love everything about it. The environment and team are both great. I could not ask for a better place to play my last year of softball."
The impact that Spigner, Suitos, Goodacre, Wilson and Pendley have brought to the team has been tremendous. Coach Candrea is impressed with their work ethic and how fast they were able to adapt to a new school, level of play, and environment.
"They have fit in quite well with their performance which is a big thing," Candrea said. "All of them have contributed in one way or another and they are going to be an outstanding group as they mature."
Candrea is extremely excited for the newcomers' contributions to the future of Arizona softball.
"They are the future of this program," Candrea said. "I am very pleased as to how they have been performing. I think they all work hard and have a passion for the game. For their first time around they have done a very nice job of executing but we still have some work to do, some growth to take place."