Taking to the road for the fourth time this season, the Longhorns travel to take on the Roadrunners of UTSA in a University of Texas system showdown.
Texas is coming off of a sweep at the hands of the Cowgirls of Oklahoma State where the team lost each game in the three-game series by a single run. While a match-up versus the reigning national champion Oklahoma looms in early April, the focus has been largely on preparing for whatever challenge presents itself next.
“You got to feel as prepared as you possibly can be,” head coach Connie Clark said. “We’ve really been talking a lot about taking care of the little things and how important that is.”
UTSA presents a midweek road challenge for the Longhorns, an opportunity to recover from last weekend’s disappointment. As a top-150 Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) team with a premier ace in junior Lizzy Fox, the Roadrunners have the necessary tools to conquer Texas. The teams first collided this season in Austin at the beginning of March, with Texas pulling off a 7-2 victory.
For a team that has played a majority of its games on foreign fields this season, there is a growing comfort in playing away from home. All of the travel has made playing at McCombs Field odd for the Longhorns. “I can tell you it felt weird to be home,” Clark said. “I think at this point we feel a little more comfortable on the road than we do at home, which is crazy, but obviously we’ll be here quite a bit in the month of April and obviously we’re looking forward to that. I think it’s helped us.”
Not only has the team been on the road for a good portion of the season, it has fought against the fifth-toughest ranked schedule in the nation according to the RPI.
While these challenges appear to be difficult to overcome, Texas has handled the pressure well, posting a top-25 RPI.
“I think we’ve been well prepared,” redshirt sophomore Erica Wright said. “We’ve had the fifth-toughest schedule in the country, so I think we’re ready for it, we’re prepared. We’re just all really excited for it. It feels like it’s been forever since we started this season, but it’s here now so we’re ready for it.”
While San Antonio is a much less exhausting trip when compared to those to California, Oklahoma or Arizona, it’s still another trip in which the student athletes have to pack up and leave their classes for a day. While the challenge for the players can be daunting, there is always a brighter side.
“Last year we were barely on the road, and now every time I look up I’m having to wash my clothes and repack,” Wright said. “I mean it’s really fun to travel with my teammates, stay at hotels and stuff. So I can’t complain too much. There are pros and cons to traveling.”