The Washington Huskies returned to the Women’s College World Series last season for the first time since 2013 and only the third time since their national title in 2009. Despite finishing third in the PAC-12 regular-season standings, the Huskies earned the #6 overall national seed, hosted a Super regional, and advanced to Oklahoma City.
Huskies head coach Heather Tarr, a veteran of more than five hundred wins in Seattle, left the 2017 season with high praise for her team’s performance.
“There was a lot of growth in our players from the start of the year to the end of the year,” Tarr said. “Getting back to the World Series has been difficult for our group, and last year was really a culmination of the past four years, really. Last year, our mindset was ‘we’re going to do this, we’re going to make it, we are going to get there, like we want.”
“We definitely met the challenge at the World Series,” Tarr continued. “We reached our potential. That’s tough to do, because things always happen, but it was really a year where we were able to really reach our potential.”
Though her team enjoyed success in 2017, Tarr wants to make sure her team’s mindset is in the right place heading into 2018. “You don’t want to discount what we did [in 2017], because it was very significant for our team to get to Oklahoma City,” Tarr said. “It’s helpful to have them with the drive from having been there, but you still want them to have the drive like when they had never been and wanted to get there. It’s a stay-hungry mentality and we are always going to have to prove ourselves more than most… we have to make sure that there’s no doubt in the room for the NCAA Committee.”
One of the Huskies’ biggest tasks for the coming season will be replacing graduated senior star Ali Aguilar. “She was such a big player for us,” said Tarr. “For us, it’s something that you can’t replace. You’re really going to have to change a bit of what you do and how you produce runs… we have to figure out how to generate runs; I believe we can, but it’s just going to be done a different way.”
In a stacked PAC-12 race, Tarr says she hopes her team can stand out. “I would hope that we’re in the top half of the conference,” Tarr said. “It’s eight weeks and you can’t hide. You play everyone. That’s the difference in our conference. It’s awesome for our conference for Stanford to be a quality team; makes it more challenging, but it will also help us in the end where everybody is strong.”
Tarr said that she hopes her team can “reach our potential” in the coming year. “That’s a cliche thing, but truly, you never know what’s going to happen. If things go well and fall into place, we can get back to Oklahoma City.”
The Huskies kick off the 2018 season on February 9 against Saint Louis in Peoria, Illinois.