With little prep time, No. 21 Missouri softball heads to Strike-Out Cancer Tournament

The Tigers prepared to face Ole Miss, Iowa State, Florida Atlantic and Central Florida after their originally scheduled games in Texas were canceled.

As the weather emergency in Texas continues to cause problems in the state, No. 21 Missouri’s games against Prairie View A&M, No. 23 Baylor and Northwestern State were canceled.

To keep the team active and playing games, the staff began “evaluating alternative options to play this weekend,” according to a statement. This left the team with little time to prepare for potential new opponents, meaning that rescheduled games would pose an added challenge.

The Tigers have scheduled an alternative option, which brings them back to Florida for Florida Atlantic’s Strike-Out Cancer Tournament. The Tigers will play the hosts twice, along with an SEC matchup with Ole Miss and a game each against Iowa State and No. 24 Central Florida.

“All of us... Were all contacting people we knew, doing research on who was hosting,” head coach Larissa Anderson said. “I’m real good friends with the coaching staff for Florida Atlantic and I’m so fortunate that they were able to help us out and accommodate our schedule.”

With the team leaving for Boca Raton on Friday, the team has little time to prepare for the slate of games that begin on Saturday. Anderson said they spent those two days before flying out watching film on their opponents.

“It’s just a matter of collecting as much information as we can and spending time watching game film,” Anderson said. “I have a great staff working underneath me, so everyone has their own duties and responsibilities... [We are] making sure that we prepare the team the best we can.”

One positive from the newly scheduled games is that the Tigers will be facing an SEC opponent early on in the season. Anderson said she didn’t know if Ole Miss was going to want to play, but she is excited about playing them because it will be a good experience for the younger players.

“There’s different hype, there’s different excitement when you’re playing an SEC opponent,” Anderson said. “Getting that almost out of the way in the second week of the season is going to be great.”

Anderson said the shift of weekend plans is just another example of a list of challenges that the team has faced over the years. The team was banned from postseason play last year due to academic misconduct before college athletics were put on hold due to the pandemic.

From the team’s perspective, rescheduling is just another example of adversity that it has to deal with.

“This program has faced so much adversity in the last four years that we just roll with it,” Anderson said. “[The] SEC Tournament’s on the road. Regionals, hopefully, are at home. But we have to be prepared to be successful on the road… When you’re on the road, you have less distractions, so you can have much better control and command of your team.”

Edited by Jack Soble | jsoble@themaneater.com

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