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UCA Softball leads conference in first year under new coach

In their first year under head coach Jenny Parsons, the UCA Bears are seeing success in the short time that they've spent in their new ASUN Conference.

CONWAY, Ark. — The 2022 softball season was the first for the UCA Bears under head coach Jenny Parsons.

It was also the team's first year in the ASUN Conference, with the Bears leaving the Southland Conference last year. 

Despite the change in division, they're currently leading the ASUN west and have clinched a spot in the conference championship. 

"It seems like things are going pretty good. My team, they've bought in for what we're trying to accomplish," UCA head coach Jenny Parsons said. 

Of course, there are new adjustments that come along with a new league, most notably traveling sometimes as far as Florida as the ASUN Conference has several teams in the Sunshine State. 

"Travel is very different. We've hardly flown on a plane before and now we're [flying] three times in one season. Some of the facilities have been nice, it makes you excited to play on a nice field and atmosphere, and go to new places too," redshirt sophomore and Arkansas native Mary Kate Brown said. 

UCA has also faced a tough schedule outside of the conference, facing not only power five teams but schools from the mighty SEC. 

"We went to LSU the first weekend and we said we're not going here just to play well, we're going to win some games. Once they got the big win against LSU and lost to a walk-off against Illinois, the confidence grew from there. We went to Mississippi State, the same thing beat them, beat Georgia Tech," Parsons said. 

UCA's last regular-season series will be this weekend against Jacksonville State, and the Bears are hoping to close it out the right way before the ASUN Conference Championships 

"We need to sweep. Our confidence going to the tournament, it would be really good if we could get three wins this weekend," Brown said. 

After their series against the Gamecocks, the Bears will play in the ASUN Championship which is from May 10-14.