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June 2, 2019

Taran Alvelo

Amirah Milloy

Gabbie Plain

Heather Tarr

Oklahoma City, Oklahomaa

UCLA-3, Washington-0

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by the Washington Huskies.

Coach, you made the Championship Series last year, got to the semifinals this year, obviously lose a real heartbreaker. Talk about how difficult it is, you've been part of a national championship team, to get to the Championship Series and then win a national championship.

HEATHER TARR: Well, I mean, obviously it's very hard. We've only done it two times since the bracket has turned into what it is.

You got to get through this tournament and then you have to try to win the next one. There's two levels of getting to the national championship and holding the trophy. It's difficult.

THE MODERATOR: Amirah, you faced Rachel Garcia a lot. She's a very talented pitcher. What are the challenges when you face a pitcher of that level?

AMIRAH MILLOY: I think any time you face a pitcher of that caliber you have to kind of attack them before they attack you. I think just being able to see her throughout the season kind of helped prepare us.

Ultimately, she's getting the same preparation with seeing us during the season. We kind of knew each other and it was kind of just a battle to the end.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. A game like that, the ups and downs, how hard is it to end like that?
GABBIE PLAIN: I think it's incredibly hard because we battled so well. Everyone did such an amazing job throughout the entire game. Rachel Garcia is one of those players, she will go out there with everything she's got. You will go out there against her as hard as you can. It's really just every pitch is a pitch to the end. You never know which one is going to be the end.

TARAN ALVELO: I feel like when you get into these kinds of games, it's the 10th inning, 0-0 ballgame, it can go one of two ways. It's never going to be easy when it's one swing that changes the game and all of a sudden, your career is over.

But it's part of it, part of what we do. We kind of chose this life. It sucks because these are my best friends and I'll never wear this uniform with them again.

You just got to keep going. So, any time the season ends, whether it's the last game of the season, or a few games before, it's going to hurt.

AMIRAH MILLOY: Like what I said before, the fact that we had to get here and play a Pac-12 team, it kind of puts you in some ease, but also you know they've seen you. Unfortunately, I don't even know how many times she got up, but she was ready. It just takes one pitch, that kind of instance where we didn't score. They had the opportunity. She took all of it. That's kind of what happened.

Q. Explain your four years, what it was like for you.
TARAN ALVELO: It was challenging. There was a lot of hardship. There was so much good that came out of it. But the lessons that I've been taught by Coach Tarr, my teammates, just meeting the people, the fans, being able to play on this stage three times, that's something no amount of words can describe.

Q. Gabbie, you spent two years learning from Taran. Speak to what you have learned over that time, what she's meant to you.
GABBIE PLAIN: I've learnt a massive number of lessons from Taran. One is to keep persevering under all circumstances. Taran does an incredible job of it. Almost every time we play, last year she was injured, managed to come back and still play in games at this level incredibly well.

Definitely going to miss her. She's one of my closest friends, so... I'm so glad I had the two years to spend with her.

Q. What are you the proudest of how you competed today?
AMIRAH MILLOY: Just the fact that we held on for as long as we could. Our kind of thing in the dugout today was outlast them. Like I said, it takes one pitch. Unfortunately, that's all they needed to win the game. I felt like we did a really good job of staying within ourselves and still continuing to fight.

TARAN ALVELO: Just the same thing. It's all about one another. Kept saying, 21 on 1. It was all of us against them. I think that's how we approach a lot of the things that we do. That's just what's so special about our group. We don't have to rely on one person. There's just no better feeling than being able to look to my teammates, Hey, I need some help, let's go.

Today wasn't our day, but we had a pretty good season.

GABBIE PLAIN: Yeah, that game was a really tough game. We battled. They battled. Going 10 innings with no runs on either side is pretty impressive. Like, we did everything we could. There are always going to be ifs, buts. In the end we played really, really well. I'm super proud of them.

Q. Taran, we've seen how much you've grown as an athlete. How have you grown as a person?
TARAN ALVELO: I'm a completely different person. I mean, it's night and day difference. I still have my moments, trust me. Coach Tarr said I'm pretty emotional. But I've just learned how to adapt and grow each day, not go back on my old ways. Try to take advantage of the moment. I feel if I keep pushing in this direction, I feel like I have a pretty good life, I don't know.

I'm still going to always have these people here to help push me. I mean, I don't think Coach Tarr knows this, but I'm going to keep annoying here for the rest of my life. They've helped me, so...

Q. Taran and Amirah, where do you see U-Dub softball compared to four years ago?
TARAN ALVELO: I feel when you look at our program, there's so much history, from every team that's come through the doors of our Husky Stadium, all the players that have worn this jersey. There are so many stories to tell. We've written a new story every season.

There's so much growth within each year. I mean, you're going to keep going forward. There's no going back for this program. I think that speaks a lot to how we are coached and raised as young athletes, women athletes. We're strong and we're able to overcome anything. It's cause of our fearless leader over there. This program is amazing.

AMIRAH MILLOY: We were a pretty young program this year. We had nine rookies, as we call them, new to our program. I think that gives me so much hope for this program. We had Sami Reynolds, oh my gosh, she came out of nowhere. I don't think anyone expected her to perform the way that she did. That was so awesome. We have Maddie and Silent who were in the starting lineup, so many others that came off the bench and contributed. It's exciting for our program to know there's players here that are going to take care of the legacy we built.

I don't think our program is in bad hands at all. I think Coach Tarr does a really good job of handpicking athletes and amazing people to come into this program. We all care and love each other. I don't have any concerns moving forward.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. Congratulations.

We'll continue with questions for coach.

Q. When Taran arrived to your program, how has she changed as a person?
HEATHER TARR: Well, I don't know if she would like this example, but maybe she would appreciate it. She likes dogs, or maybe horses. It's like you got a wild horse. You have to find a way to make it able to run in races and win races.

She basically came with all the tools in her. We just had to help her get to where she could be at her best. I told the team before we left the locker room just now, the thing we're most proud of Taran for is she was at her best in her last moments, mentally, physically, emotionally. That's all you can really ask for.

Now she can go wherever she wants to go and take her tools, herself to the next level. We're just proud of who she's become through Husky softball and who Husky softball has become because of her.

Q. You told me a couple weeks ago you felt a special connection to this class because of what they had to follow up versus you as a player. What have you seen out of them and their leadership this year?
HEATHER TARR: You knew Taran was always going to be a big part. There's three others that are huge pieces to what we are. Obviously, Amirah got to play a huge part to the on field stuff this year. We're super proud of her. We don't win that game yesterday without her offense. She went from not playing at all her freshman year to pretty much starting every single game.

Rachel, she caught every single one of Taran's bullpens, got Taran ready for every single game. Thankless job right there.

Brittany, our WASAC student president. Awesome class from that end.

There's good leaders, four women who are going to go on and do completely different things in the world. But they were able to carry on the legacy of the last two senior classes, which were amazing and awesome in their own right. Just proud of them for being able to carry on what good, true, positive leadership is in the softball program.

Q. Is it hard to find something to say when you have such a great game like that, to say to the team afterwards?
HEATHER TARR: Either way, how do you go out? You get to the next game tonight, maybe you go out the same way, or you get to the Championship Series. You don't know what's going to happen.

You never know when the end is the end. It stinks when you're not the home team and you can't do that to the other team, you don't score, you leave it up to them, don't score, leave it up to them.

The hard part is we had so many chances. We left 12 runners on base, they left eight. In the end, they got the timely hit. I thought Taran and Gabbie pitched well enough to keep us in the game, Rachel threw great. It was a matter of who was going to get the clutch hit and when.

Q. So many people on bases, this could come back to haunt you?
HEATHER TARR: It doesn't really ever come back to haunt you. It's just a matter of you're not going to win if you don't score a run, so... It wasn't like a nervous thing. It was just a matter of we have to take advantage or we're not going to win the game, yeah.

Q. You built a program where your players, whether it's adversity or good things, you build upon those. What are you hoping your underclassmen take from this experience this year?
HEATHER TARR: You look at a lot of them, a lot of our players that will return next year. They didn't have a lot of starting experience moving into this. Of course, Bates, Morganne, Gabbie, but the rest of them, they don't know what this is like. For them to have to swallow a tough pill on a day like today, it fuels your training. It gives you reason for what you're going to do next.

I'm excited for our future. We have four incoming players that are going to do a lot for this program, a pitcher, a centerfielder, and another pitcher that can hit, a pretty good outfielder.

Just excited for our future, excited to see what's next for Husky softball. We hope to see you next year.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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