El Paso, TX — The UTEP softball team began practice today. Gone is co-head coaches Kathleen and James Rodriguez, who had been with the program since its inception, and in comes new head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk.
The 2014 season will open on Feb. 7 against Echo-Hawk's Alma mater Nebraska (9:30 a.m.) at the Hotel Encanto Tournament hosted by NM State in Las Cruces, N.M. The Miners will then face Saint Mary's (Calif.) at 11:30 a.m. following their game against the Cornhuskers.
The Miners will return six seniors (Erika Arcuri, Kayla Black, Colleen Hohman, Alanna Leasau, Miraya Montiel and Laura Ramos), four juniors (Samantha Alvillar, Ashley Eldridge, McKenzey Finley, and Tahla Wade), four sophomores (Kawehiokalani Netane, Danielle Pearson, Morgan Rasmason and Jade Rodriguez), a redshirt freshman (Taylor Grohmann), and five freshmen (Kaitlin Fifield, Erika Harrawood, Yvette Ortega, Summer Palipti and Brianna Tourtillott).
Statistical leaders returning include, Arcuri (2013 Conference USA Newcomer of the Year, .347 batting average and 26 runs scored), Leasau (eight homeruns, 40 RBI and seven doubles), and Pearson (3.80 ERA, six wins and 73 Ks).