By Chase Arthur '13
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - For Briana Rios (BR) and the Santa Clara University softball team adversity is no stranger. The Broncos have been in many precarious spots this season, and often times they called on Rios to come in and shut the door. The future looks bright for the Broncos and this young freshman, and they look to close out this season on a high note. Rios was recently able to connect with SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) about her season and her future with the Broncos.
SCB: Being a freshman, how has your first year at Santa Clara been?
BR: My first year has been quite an experience. I have had to make a lot of adjustments with school and softball and during this process I have been forced to grow up and be an adult. I have made some great friends on and off the field and I am happy to be a Bronco!
SCB: What are some unexpected challenges that you have faced this season?
BR: Perhaps the most unexpected challenge for me was the location of my pitches. Before college I knew the importance of being able to hit your spots as a pitcher, but I did not realize how crucial it is at the collegiate level because you will learn very quickly what will happen, even if you miss your spot by a hair.
SCB: How have you improved during your freshman season? What other improvements are you trying to make during the final games of this season?
BR: Learning from my mistakes and playing tough competition has helped me fine-tune my pitching. For the rest of the season I want to improve on my mental game. Sometimes I let my head get the best of me, so in order for me to be strong and confident on the mound I really need to focus and key in on every pitch and nothing else.
SCB: How has the team gotten better late into the season?
BR: Aside from practicing in certain areas on defense and offense, I feel like as a team we understand and compliment one another. Through time we have figured out how each of us functions, which makes us able to sync together and play as a team.
SCB: What does the team hope to capitalize on as you close out this season?
BR: Hopefully we take advantage of the fact that we are playing at home and that a big supportive crowd will help get us some wins. If we stay positive, loud, and focused we will give teams a run for their money. Each and every one of us has the talent and when we all are on our "A" game we play great in every aspect of the game.
SCB: Talk a little bit about the chemistry among the freshman class and how the class has matured throughout this season.
BR: It has definitely been a blessing to know and play with the freshmen class. I have made some really good friends with this class and there is never a dull moment with them. We have great chemistry. Travelling, long practices, and early morning workouts would have been a disaster if we did not get along, but these girls are fun to be around and are good hearted.