May 27, 2010
ATHENS, Ga. - After practice on Thursday, CalBears.com caught up with the California softball team's starting shortstop senior Taylor Kelly. Kelly, a seasoned veteran of the postseason, has been to the NCAA Tournament in each of her four years with the Golden Bears. Before the Bears went to dinner as a team, CalBears.com discussed all things postseason with the Santee, Calif., native.
CalBears.com: Does this year's trip to the postseason compare with past ones?
Taylor Kelly: It definitely feels differently to me. For us seniors, we don't have the possibility of doing this next year so it's all or nothing for us. We've got to make it to Oklahoma City this year.
CalBears.com: Talent wise, do you think this team is better than past ones?
TK: Yes. I think on and off the field, we have a lot more chemistry this year. It's definitely paying off for us.
CalBears.com: What does it say about the Bears that Cal shut out its three opponents at Regionals?
TK: I think it says a lot about our defense and how we're capable of playing. It also shows how well we work together. Our team is very well-rounded and we are not willing to run off in any circumstance.
CalBears.com: What has been the most fun part of the trip so far?
TK: Besides rooming with Amy Bishop? Being able to hang out as a team a lot.
CalBears.com: Were you pleased with the Bears' draw in the tournament?
TK: For the past three years, we have gotten the No. 1 seed in our Regional or Super Regional. My freshman year, it was Alabama and then the past two years, it was Florida. It is a relief not to have that pressure on our shoulders. That being said, none the teams that we have faced so far have not been cake walks, and I have no doubt that it will be the same with Georgia.
CalBears.com: With seven of the eight Pac-10 teams earning bids to the NCAA Tournament and six of those seven teams winning their Regionals, what does that say about the power of the Pac-10 Conference?
TK: I think it says that we're clearly the more dominant and more challenging conference. When you match a Pac-10 team up against one from another conference, the Pac-10 team usually backs up that statement.
CalBears.com: Georgia is an SEC powerhouse. What do you expect to see from the Bulldogs?
TK: They are going to be great games because Georgia is an excellent team. I expect to be matched up with good hitters. I think our defense is going to be key this weekend. If our pitchers throw their game and if our defense is on, we'll hopefully be to limit their hitters.
CalBears.com: You've faced SEC teams in the postseason in recent years and lost, is that at the back of your mind at all?
TK: No, it's not. I think we're all very excited about the draw that we've gotten. We're not pleased with Georgia because we think it is an easy team by any means. We're excited to play Georgia because it is a different team. We're excited to face this team because we have not played them in a long time. With the way that we've been playing recently, I think that we're very confident in ourselves. If we play how we're capable of playing, we have a good shot to win.
CalBears.com: How do you think the freshmen are fairing in their first trip to the postseason?
TK: I think they're all really excited. Every player that comes into college softball, their whole dream is to be in the Women's College World Series. Maybe they're nervous, I don't know. I think most of all, we're all just really excited.