Jan. 29, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa softball team officially kicked off the 2013 season Tuesday night, hosting the ninth annual "Meet the Hawks" night inside the new Indoor Practice Facility. Fans and media got their first look at the 2013 squad.
"We have been working hard through the fall and we have stepped it up a little bit so far this winter," said UI head coach Marla Looper. "We are ready to get going. As coaches, our expectations continue to rise, so we are challenging them to get better daily."
"At this time last year, we were not this good and we were not this sharp. It is really exciting."
Following 45 minutes of defensive drills, the Iowa student-athletes interacted with the fans in five stations (timed baserunning, throwing for speed, throwing for accuracy, hitting off tee, hitting off of machine). After the group reassembled, Looper introduced the 24 student-athletes that comprise the 2013 roster.
Following a question and answer session with the fans, Looper talked about the upcoming 2013 season before the Hawkeyes closed out the event by posing for pictures and signing autographs.
Iowa opens the season Feb. 8 in Houston, Texas. The Hawkeyes face Lipscomb and Texas State at the Hilton Houston Plaza Classic.
Expectations are high and Iowa is eager to get started after finishing second in the Big Ten a year ago -- the program's highest finish since winning the regular season title in 2003.
"Our goal is to win it," said Looper about the 2013 Big Ten title. "We face some formidable opponents. We need to take care of business early, and that starts next week."
"We have been working really hard," said senior Johnnie Dowling. "We have been building each year since the new coaching staff came in. We have been working on getting better every day, and that is our goal this year."