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Friday, August 19, 2022

Softball

Cougars anticipate return to NCAA tournament


After three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances the Cougars believe 2014 will be the fourth. | Esteban Portillo/The Daily Cougar

After three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, the Cougars believe 2014 will be their fourth. | Esteban Portillo/The Daily Cougar

The Cougars hope to continue their three-year streak of NCAA tournament appearances with new additions to the team and a unique schedule to look forward to after posting a 41-20 record last season.

This year begins in February with two tournaments. The Houston Classic runs from Feb. 14 to 16 and pits UH against Sam Houston State, Nebraska, Army, and Stephen F. Austin in three consecutive double-headers. The Houston Invite will be held from Feb. 21 to 26 and will match UH up against Nicholls State, Columbia, North Dakota State and Texas A&M.

The schedule includes 32 home games at Cougar Softball Stadium, and after the regular season concludes, the University will host the American Athletic Championships. In the Cougars’ first American season, they will face a mix of new and familiar squads. Conference play begins with matches against Louisville at the end of March.

Head coach Kyla Holas developed the schedule that has the Cougars going against 12 of the teams that advanced to the NCAA postseason last season.

“When you look at the tournament schedule that we have put together, we should be thoroughly prepared and hopefully have some big wins when we’re heading into conference,” said Holas, who is about to begin her 14th season as head coach.

Besides the tournament and conference schedule, the team will also face several marquee non-conference matchups in Texas A&M, Baylor and Texas.

In terms of new additions to the team, the Cougars signed Kris Davila, a Blinn Community College transfer student and a 2012 NJCAA and NFCA All-American. She led the Buccaneers to a 34-20 record in 2013 and an NCAA championship appearance in 2012.

Holas anticipates success for the team while still maintaining the attitude of evolving the team to face unknown and familiar opponents.

“I’m excited for this new opportunity and the new opponents,” Holas said. “Our style of play moving forward will evolve, and we need to figure that out real quick. That’s going to be most of our focus is figuring out what style of play these teams use, travel, weather, new venues, et cetera. We had a lot of familiarity within Conference USA, and now this new challenge presents itself, and we’re absolutely ready for it.”

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