The Day

Penders has put together a challengin­g schedule for Huskies


Penders is counting on some newcomers, including infielder Luke Broadhurst who won a Division III national championsh­ip with Eastern Connecticu­t State University last season, to contribute right away.

“I like our team,” Penders said. “It's an experience­d group but not necessaril­y experience­d in our uniforms, so that gives me a little bit of agita. Those guys haven't done in our uniform against Division I competitio­n. But I know they're Division I players and could be Division I stars. But they've got to know it in their gut that they can get it done.”

UConn will find out a lot about its team playing difficult opponents on the road early on.

“You see what you're made of really quick,” Huber said. “You really understand what you're going to get from that team.”

The challengin­g schedule also will prepare the Huskies for the rest of the regular season and beyond.

“I've done it year in and year out,” Penders said. “We try to play the best early so that we can play the best late in Omaha. So far, the plan hasn't quite worked to get to Omaha, but we've made a lot of progress along the way.”

UConn's demanding travel schedule continues next week with a trip to Berkeley, Calif., to play Cal Poly and California twice over the weekend.

Next, the Huskies will play three games against Florida Atlantic (March 3-5) in Boca Raton.

Then, after hosting Hartford March 7 in the home opener at Elliot, they will take a long trip during the school vacation break, starting with four games against Hawaii in Honolulu (March 10-13) and then visiting San Diego State for four games (March 1619) before finally returning home.

“It's going to be the most plane rides I've been on,” Broadhurst said. “It will be a little bit of an adjustment for me but I'm super excited. I can't wait until we get on the plane. It's going to really feel real once we get on that plane.”

Penders is taking every step necessary to lessen the impact of the tough road trips and believes in a no excuses mentality.

“We've done something similar in the past, but we haven't done something quite this arduous…,” Penders said.

“Early on, it's going to be a lot and a lot of air miles. We've taken steps to ensure the guys will have recovery time when we get out to Hawaii.

We're bringing our strength and conditioni­ng coach to make sure that their nutrition is up to snuff.

“I think it's going to be harder on the coaches than it is on the players. These guys are 18 to 23 years old. They should be able to bounce back. But an 11-hour flight is an 11-hour flight, so it is what it is. If we allow it to be mentally taxing, it's going to be that much worse.

“It might be far away, but it's another ball game. They're not going to feel sorry for us when we get off the plane. We've got to go out and beat them.”

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