Whenever a Maryland softball player made a mistake this past week, coach Julie Wright made her run an "accountability sprint."
It was a policy meant to instill more precision and focus on the team after the Terps made nine errors last weekend in the UCLA tournament. Each of those miscues came in their first four games. Against Middle Tennessee on Sunday, though, they avoided a single misstep and won, 2-1.
Entering the Auburn Invitational, which includes Delaware, Auburn and St. Francis (PA), Maryland hopes to build off that final game.
"Coach always says, 'Defense doesn't win championships, it loses it.'" outfielder Amanda Brashear said. "If we can keep a goose egg on the board for errors, we're going to be in any ballgame."
Despite Maryland's 1-4 record, Wright saw positives from her squad in their season-opening tournament. She said she feels good about where the team is.
In particular, she highlighted the work of her pitching staff, which held opponents to five or fewer runs in every contest. Sydney Golden earned her first career win with the Terps by throwing 3.2 shutout innings against Middle Tennessee.
Wright expects pitching to continue to be a strength.
"The great thing about the pitching staff is they work together really, really well," Wright said. "And I think we are utilizing them to their fullest potential."
Wright added that she will probably employ a more even ratio of innings between her four hurlers.
"Ryan [Denhart] and Sydney [Golden] are obviously doing some really good things with the ball right now, so I continue to see them getting starts," Wright said, "but I also continue to see Sami Main and Lauren Graves doing their roles well."
Denhart and Golden each had two starts in Los Angeles, combining for 27.1 of the team's 34 innings.
Golden is unfazed by the heavy workload she will have in her first season as a Terp.
"I didn't pitch a lot last year just because I was hurt, the year before I pitched a ton," Golden said. "The workload is not a concern of mine at all."
Golden's focus for the week has been getting ahead of hitters to start at bats, after only throwing first-pitch strikes to 9 of the 52 hitters she faced in Los Angeles. And behind her, the focus will be avoiding the errors that cost the Terps last weekend.
They're confident in their ability to execute better against their weekend competition.