The Lehigh softball team’s California natives will experience a homecoming on this season’s spring break trip.
Over the course of nine days, the team will play 12 games and face 10 teams all within the San Francisco Bay Area. Coach Fran Troyan said the team takes the trip in order to prepare for upcoming Patriot League play, allowing it to play a lot of games against high-level competition.
The team will face programs that include Stanford University, Cal Poly and Grand Canyon University in the Stanford Easton Classic and the Santa Clara Round Robin.
“It gives us a chance to measure ourselves against the better teams in the country,” Troyan said.
Troyan said he is most looking forward to the California natives getting the chance to play in front of their friends and family. He said to be able to do that every once in a while is a nice thing for the program.
Junior infielder Rachel Timberman, originally from Shingle Springs, California, said she could not be more appreciative of Troyan making a trip to California possible.
“My family is so grateful that they’ll be able to watch our games in person,” Timberman said. “Most of my extended family resides all over northern California, so this will be their first time seeing me play in college.”
Junior outfielder Nicole Yozzo from Pleasanton, California, is looking forward to hosting the team for dinner at her family’s home and playing where she grew up. The team will also have dinner at an alumna’s parent’s home. Troyan said continuing those relationships is one way to show that the softball family will always remain intact.
“It’ll be cool to play at Stanford and (University of California) since we would always go watch those girls play at home when I was younger,” Yozzo said. “It’ll be a little surreal to step out in a uniform there.”
A trip where school is not a worry is an added benefit. Yozzo said the environment allows the women to just play and have a little more fun out there.
Troyan has planned a day off for the women to enjoy their break and surroundings by touring San Francisco. The team will take a cable car ride through the city and a boat tour around the bay area. The women will also stop at Ghirardelli’s chocolate shop and a restaurant famous for its sourdough bread.
Even with school out of mind, the team will still need to stay mentally focused throughout the trip. Yozzo said with so many games, it’s just a matter of taking things one at a time.
“Our challenging schedule will test our mental toughness and force us to work on our composure in pressure situations,” Timberman said. “We just need to play to our ability and know that our preparation will allow us to succeed.”