Being unranked in the preseason for the first time in three years has not affected the confidence of the South Florida softball team.
"We'll never take to the field in a 70-game season and say we're going to finish 40-30," coach Ken Eriksen said. "We're going to tell you 70-0, and if we drop the first one, we'll finish 69-1."
That attitude should serve the Bulls (1-1) well in the Louisville Slugger tournament that begins today. USF is the defending champion.
Top-ranked UCLA, the defending national champion, is the strongest of the eight teams in the tournament. Maryland, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida Atlantic, Northwestern and Florida International (which split a doubleheader with the Bulls on Saturday) fill out the field.
USF plays UCLA at noon Saturday.
"We can beat them," Eriksen said. "We've played against top teams before and either beaten them or came real close."
Eriksen's confidence has rubbed off on his players.
"I think we're going to win every game," senior shortstop Lea Mishlan said. "If not, why go out on the field?"
The tournament starts with two groups of four teams playing round-robin today and noon Saturday. Bracket play is 3 p.m. Saturday. The championship and consolation games are 2 p.m. Sunday.
USF's first game is at 3 p.m. today against Maryland, which swept the Bulls in their three meetings last season.