The Women’s College World Series is entering the home stretch with just four remaining teams vying for the chance to win the NCAA Division I Championship. The Pittsburgh Panthers narrowly missed out on a chance to compete in the WCWS after making a run to the ACC Championship game. Next year, Pitt will look to build on the success they had this season in hopes of securing an NCAA Tournament entry. If the Panthers are able to do so, pitcher Sarah Dawson figures to play a big role in that.
Sarah has been kind enough to do a Q&A with us twice this season! We wish her and the team all the best during their offseason workouts.
Q1: Can you describe the emotional roller coaster that you guys were on during the last two rounds of the ACC Tournament?
“It truly was an emotional rollercoaster. We went into game two knowing that we were going to beat UNC, still on a high from the ending to game one. We were so confident in ourselves, and we all knew that we deserved to be in the championship game. In game three, we knew that it was going to be a tough fight from both teams. The ending to the championship was heartbreaking but I could not have been any prouder of my team for fighting like we did. The highs were so high and the lows were so low.”
Q2: As you look back on the season, what were some things that might not have gone as planned and what were some things you were pleasantly surprised by?
“Looking back, the biggest change in our team that we were not expecting was Brittany’s [Knight] injury. Even though she wasn’t physically on the mound for us this season, she was still such a huge presence for us in the dugout. As the season went on, I was pleasantly surprised at how our offense was consistently producing for us. At the beginning of the season, our offense was very hit or miss, but it really did improve on a consistent basis once conference play began.”
Q3: As an individual, what will you be working on this offseason to have the best senior year as possible, and who do you think will be able to step into the circle next year along side you?
“Personally, this offseason I’ll be focusing on developing my change-up and continuing to get physically stronger. In regards to next season, I think once Brittany [Knight] is back and cleared she is going to be a huge part of our staff as she was her freshman year. We also have Taylor [Rahach] coming back, whose pitching style is so different compared to mine and Brittany’s so that will be a nice complement. Although we’re losing Kayla, who was such an influential piece of our staff for the past four years, I think the three of us alongside the two incoming freshman will all work really well together and battle for our team.”
Q4: What do you think the team will need to improve on this offseason to continue, and improve upon, the success you guys have had recently?
“I think that we need to continue what we have been doing, such as working hard on our offensive and defensive skills and getting stronger in the weight room. We are all so hungry to have an even more successful year next season than we did during this past one, so we have the right mindset.”