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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Another losing season raises questions for Warrior Softball

The California State University, Stanislaus softball team ended their disappointing season on a high note by defeating No. 6  Humboldt State twice, finishing the year with an overall record of 17-38 and breaking a four-game losing streak.
After another sub-.500 season, morale and optimism seem to be on the decline. The softball team holds a record of 83-183-1 over the last five years.
With the struggles, questions have arisen about Coach Jan Schefkowitz’s coaching style and team philosophy.
“I think [Schefkowitz] is very stuck in her own ways,” one of three players, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity after the season ended, told The Signal. “She doesn’t want to hear someone else’s input.”
When asked about problems with her coaching style, Schefkowitz replied, “No player or captain has brought it to my attention. [No one has said,] ‘Hey coach, we think you are being unfair to somebody.’”
After taking three of four games from Cal State Dominguez Hills to open CCAA play, the Warriors proceeded to drop 21 of their next 26 games.
“It was disappointing, but also expected,” another player said. “It’s a lack of coaching. We start well and once we get into conference we just can’t pick it up.”
Despite the struggles of the past five seasons, Coach Schefkowitz boasts an impressive resumé.
In nearly two decades as the head coach of the softball team, she has had multiple winning seasons.  Most notably was the 2007 season for the Warriors, which saw the team compile a school-best 50-20 mark, win the NCAA West Regional championship and clinch a spot in the NCAA National Championship.
Schefkowitz was also named the CCAA Coach of the Year in 2000.
“We had some significant injuries to some key players this year,” Schefkowitz said. “By the end of the year, everyone was healthy and the freshmen now had experience, and we began to play well.”
But the softball program is plagued by the amount of turnover they experience on a yearly basis. Many of the players interviewed attributed this occurrence to Schefkowitz’s “like-it-or-transfer” mentality.
Schefkowitz ascribed this turnover to the idea that college softball players have a difficult time transitioning from high school to college athletics and the improvement, in talent, of the opposition.
“When you’re in travel ball, let’s say 12 and under, and I am going to equate this to arithmetic, then you get to junior high and it’s still softball but now multiplication, so there are more factors,” Schefkowitz said.
“Now in college, and in particular in our conference where we have had national champions come out of our conference, it’s calculus.”
Another problem plaguing the softball program is the difficulty that the student athletes encounter when attempting to balance their education and their commitment to the team.
“I’m actually staying an extra semester because [Schefkowitz] wouldn’t let me take the class that I needed,” a third player said.
“My scholarship pays for school and now that I have to come back, I have to pay for a whole semester.”
“I had a class that ran fifteen minutes into practice, and she made me drop them,” another player said. “Now I’m going to be a semester late.”
These allegations are something that Coach Schefkowitz and her staff categorically denied, however.
“We absolutely have to work around class,” Schefkowitz said. “If you are saying do I ever say you have to miss classes for practice, no, that never happens.”
CSU Stanislaus Director of Athletics Michael Matoso also weighed in on the subject.
“Every school has its challenges,” he said. “You try to accommodate as many people as you can. That is always going to be a challenge. There is no way to accommodate everybody in every situation.”
Matoso, Schefkowitz and the players pointed at priority registration as something that could alleviate many of these problems.
“It’s something that I’m starting to look at,” Matoso said. “It’s so important.”
Schefkowitz might have to alter her coaching style to accommodate the different personalities that are on her team.
With better communication, the softball team may be able to use its talent along with Schefkowitz’s experience to get back to the success that has eluded the team for the past five seasons.
If not, the team and Schefkowitz might need to follow one of her motivational sayings, “Be comfortable being uncomfortable.”

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Another losing season raises questions for Warrior Softball