While the Pittsburgh Panthers won’t be taking the field until next spring, officially, there is still a lot of work to do if they hope to build upon a really strong season. If Pitt is to take another step forward, senior infielder Marissa DeMatteo figures to be one of the reasons why. Marissa was kind enough to answer some of our questions.
Q1: Between the strong finish to last season and a new head coach, can you describe what the last few months have been like for you?
“The last few months have truly been exciting for me. I feel that coming off such a strong season gives me hope and energy for the upcoming season. Even though there has been change, the goals within our hearts stayed the same, and Coach Hermanek is a great asset to our family.”
Q2: Did coach Hermanek reach out to you over the summer after she was named head coach? Given that you’ve always played until coach Aprile, did you have any hesitations, and did the conversation help ease any concerns you may have had?
“Yes, coach Hermanek reached out promptly after she had accepted the new head coaching job at the university. Her message was very encouraging and warming as she stressed how excited she was to begin her new journey with her new Panther family. I can say that there wasn’t a single hesitation or concern in my mind about coach Herm. Her positivity and excitement towards us was truly contagious, and I was ready to get started as quickly as possible.”
Q3: As a senior, what expectations do you have this season, both as an individual and as a team?
“I have such high expectations for the team this year. Coming off of such a dominate season last year, we are hungry and ready to go. I feel something truly special in the making. As an individual, I just strive to be the best I can be every single day. If I am the best I can be, then I know I am doing my best for my teammates. If we all buy in to a common goal, we can achieve anything.”
Q4: As a team, do you begin practicing before the semester starts or after? If so, what type of activities do you engage in?
“As a team, we begin official practices when the semester starts since that is when everyone is consistently back on campus. We really engage in activities that focus on teamwork, culture, and goals. The first week of this semester, we participated in team bonding activities that the coaches put together for us. It was truly amazing to participate in these activities with my sisters because it brought us so much closer. I feel that this was a great start to the year bringing such positive energy into team practices.”