Long road trip continues for Syracuse in Orlando for Citrus Classic

first_imgWhen the 2013 regular season ends for Syracuse, it will have played 38 games. Only 10 of them will have been at home.The team begins its season with 20 road games spread out over three weekends, plus a Spring Break trip to Hawaii. The Orange (4-5) has already traveled to Charleston, S.C., Palm Springs, Calif., and has trips to Orlando, Fla., and Honolulu, Hawaii, in the coming weeks.This weekend, the team makes a trip to Orlando for the Citrus Classic, where it will meet Louisiana State, Boston College, Longwood, Texas and Mississippi State, starting with the Tigers on Friday at 1:15 p.m. After going 1-4 at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic last weekend, the team is looking to get on track. The time on the road is bringing the Orange together, but it doesn’t have it all figured out just yet.“I think that any time you travel as a team, you get closer,” SU head coach Leigh Ross said. “You really bond once you start traveling. You’re on the bus for hours, in hotel rooms, eat meals together and you get to learn a lot about one another.”Aside from the softball and downtime, Ross uses rooming assignments to bring her team closer together. The players are given new roommates each trip, allowing girls of all positions, ages and backgrounds to get to know one another.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSenior center fielder Veronica Grant has experienced it for the last four years. She sees the team’s adaptation to all the traveling as a process that simply takes time.“I think at the beginning, we’re slow to get used to it,” Grant said. “But I think after that, we get in the swing of things knowing what’s coming up next, especially the underclassmen.”At this point of the season, traveling has presented the Orange with two problems. First, life on the road is taking a physical toll on the team. Ross said she sees every year that, as the team moves deeper into its schedule, its overall stamina slightly wavers.To keep the team in shape, coaches hold workouts on the road, get the players to bed on time and let them catch up on sleep when they have games later in the day.“It’s hard to travel and then come back to Syracuse and go right to practice sometimes,” SU first baseman Jasmine Watson said. “Our bodies just get tired. We aren’t necessarily tired, but our bodies are.”The second problem the team is facing is a lack of consistent leadership. After losing seven seniors at the end of last season, the Orange is a less experienced team than it was a year ago.As the season moves on, no players want the team to sink into mediocrity. As the Orange continues to tune up for conference play, which begins March 29, the time for players to step up is now.“We’ve got some kids that need to pick it up and grab those leadership roles, because we have a lot of people sitting back and waiting for others to step up,” Ross said. “But player-for-player, we can stand with any team in the country, it’s just a matter of them believing that and gaining the necessary experience.” Comments Published on February 28, 2013 at 2:02 am Contact Jesse: jcdoug01@syr.edu | @dougherty_jesse Facebook Twitter Google+last_img