Weather no obstacle for Gophers

The team will play 36 road games in a row before its home opener on April 8.

Sophomore Danielle Parlich fields a ground ball between innings at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium, April 4.

James Healy, Daily File Photo

Sophomore Danielle Parlich fields a ground ball between innings at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium, April 4.

Emily Polglaze

The Gophers softball team faces unique challenges with its season beginning in the middle of the winter, but the team has been able to adapt and even thrive in recent years.
 
 
This season, No. 20 Minnesota will play 36 road games before its home opener on April 8 at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium. The team is practicing indoors at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex temporarily until conditions allow players to go outdoors.
 
 
“If you want to make it a reason to struggle, you can struggle, but we don’t allow our girls to use it as an excuse,” head coach Jessica Allister said of the early-season weather and schedule.
 
 
The Gophers will play 13 games at home this season out of a 55-game schedule. The Minnesota winter forces the team to seek warmer climates to start the season, which leads to a lengthy travel schedule.
 
 
The team has played games over three days in Las Vegas, Tallahassee, Fla., and Tempe, Ariz., during the last three weekends. The Gophers will travel to Athens, Ga., this upcoming weekend and have games scheduled over two days.
 
 
All the early-season travel miles could wear a team down, but the Gophers have tried to approach the road games with a positive mindset.
 
 
“We approach it pretty well, and we don’t let it affect us,” sophomore second baseman Danielle Parlich said. 
 
 
Allister said the road trips can help the team bond because of all the shared time together. Last weekend in Arizona, the Gophers visited Parlich’s family home, as the sophomore is from Queen Creek, Ariz.
 
 
Even when the team is in Minnesota, it is forced to practice indoors during the early parts of the season, a challenge many southern and western programs do not face.
 
 
The Gophers are able to house all of their equipment at the Gibson-Nagurski building, and the team has grown accustomed to the circumstances despite playing on turf instead of dirt.
 
 
Despite some logistical disadvantages, the Gophers are 10-4 to start the season. The team also went 53-9 combined in 2014 and 2015 before playing its first game at home.
 
 
“I think, in a sense, it makes [us] stronger as a team,” Evavold said.