ASU-grad Candrea downplays in-state rivalry
With tomorrow and Saturday's two-game series against in-state rival Arizona State, UA softball head coach Mike Candrea is downplaying the two schools' rivalry.
"The rivalry right now is with the Pac-10," UA head coach Mike Candrea said. "Obviously, if you grew up in Arizona, the rivalry could be a big deal."
Amazingly, the rivalry hasn't intensified for Candrea, even though he is an Arizona State graduate.
"It has been so long, I am just red and blue," he said of his UA loyalty.
Some of Candrea's players don't think he is showing his true emotions, though.
"We see how fired up they get to beat us, and they haven't beaten us in so long," junior left fielder Lauren Bauer said. "He wants to beat them. There was a time where ASU was a better team and used to run up the score and play dirty, but that was a long time ago. But I am sure it is still in the back of his mind."
Senior second baseman Katie Swan agreed.
"Anyone you talk to on our team gets that feeling inside, it is for the bragging rights for the state," she said.
After Friday's 6-4 victory against UCLA, which was previously unbeaten in Pacific 10 Conference play, the UA bats were silenced when they faced top-ranked Washington in Seattle.
The Wildcats failed to score a run in the two losses against the Huskies after scoring six against the No. 3 Bruins.
Candrea attributed the lack of hitting to a loss of aggressiveness by Arizona hitters.
"I think the mentality was still there, we were really aggressive against UCLA and not aggressive against Washington," he said.
Swan was the only UA player to get more than one hit against No. 1 Washington - she had two singles.
"We let ourselves be taken out of the game by the officiating, and we became defensive hitters," Bauer said.
Even though Arizona has lost all four of its games against Washington this year, the team still doesn't believe that the Huskies are the dominant team in the conference.
"No, I don't think there is a dominant Pac-10 team," Candrea said. "Washington just had a really good week."
The Huskies are alone atop the Pac-10 standings with a 8-1 record - their lone loss came against California.
"I think every girl on our team thinks if we play Arizona softball, there is no doubt in our mind that we can beat them (Washington)," Swan said.
Juniors, catcher Lindsey Collins, shortstop Allison Andrade and pitcher Becky Lemke - all roommates - are making a claim for the funniest answering machine message of the year.
Taking cue from the "wassup" Budweiser commercials, the three roommates give their best "wassup" impressions before letting the caller know that they are not home.
"It is funny, that is our team, it has a lot of personality," Bauer said. "They are just a fun house."
Chris Martin can be reached at email@example.com.