Feb. 29, 2008
This feature is one of many that can be read on the Patriot League website throughout the month of February - a month the Patriot League designates to promote and highlight women in sports. The following story appeared in the Patriot League's Women in Sports magazine.
Visit the Patriot League's Celebrating Women in Sports webpage by clicking here. This page was launched last year and has been updated with some new items for 2008. The Celebrating Women in Sports webpage includes eight different links that will allow the user to read about the many accomplishments of the women in the Patriot League, while also serving to promote girls and women in sport. Highlights of this webpage are the Patriot League Celebrating Women in Sports magazine and photo gallery.
Get In Their Heads
Ever wonder what is going through an athlete's mind when they are on the field making plays look effortless? How does an athlete mentally prepare in the heat of the competition? What mechanics are they reviewing in their mind to be successful on the field? If so, get inside the heads of Lehigh's Kate Marvel and Navy's Lizzie Barnes, two standout student-athletes in the Patriot League.
Marvel is the reigning Patriot League Softball Player of the Year, a former Patriot League Rookie of the Year and a three-time First-Team All-Patriot League selection. Last year, the senior centerfielder led the League in average (.415), runs scored (37), tied for first in hits (61) and stole 11 bases. In 2007, she ranked first in the nation in triples per game. The religion studies major is a three-time Patriot League Academic Honor Roll member.
Get in Marvel's head about base running...
"Base running is a particular aspect of softball that requires some concentration and awareness. Usually when I reach a base, I survey the field before the next batter steps into the box. The coaches indicate how many outs there are, usually followed by some crazy comment or joke. I enjoy this because it keeps me at ease and reminds me that this game is meant to be fun. I like to play relaxed, it's easier. I look to see where the infield and outfield are positioned and adjust my lead accordingly. I typically position myself in what is called the `rocker step' lead; it's basically one foot in front of the other with my front foot propped up on the front corner of the base. I use this to propel my body off the base. Like in any athletic stance, getting low and staying balanced is important. I take one last glance at where the infielders are playing and on the release of the pitch I take a couple steps in my lead. For me, knowing where the infielders are is important just in case a pick off is called. I stay low in my stance and watch what happens. If I am told to steal, I take the same stance and upon release, I sprint down the base path hoping to hear `safe!'."
Barnes led the nation in goals against average and save percentage in 2006. The 2006 Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year was named a First-Team Academic All-American last fall as an information technology major. In 2007, Barnes collected a League-high eight shutouts and led the Mids to the Patriot League championship title for the second year in a row.
Get in Barnes' head about goalkeeping...
"A game for a goalkeeper is filled with individual moments. I don't think about what to do, or where to move or how to move, that just comes to me, somehow. I don't think about how great it would be if I would make that save, or how sweet it would be to earn a shutout. I think about how each shot is a chance to keep our slate clean; each save is another chance for us to score, another life for us to live, and another win for us to earn. Nothing goes through my head when I make a save, except a quick flash of
what the ball would look like in the net, and how I would feel pulling
it out. Briefly, I hear the echo of the ball sliding down the ropes
of the net, or the tink of the crossbar. I get a glimpse of the
opponent's eyes filled with excitement, and hear her screech
in victory then my hand finds the ball and it's over. The ball soars out of harm's way, and my job is finished, at least for the moment."