One way or another the most successful season in University of Utah softball history will come to an end in the next few days.

And Ute coach Jo Evans is none too pleased about it. Even if Utah wins the eight-team NCAA World Series tournament, which begins today, Evans will have mixed emotions about the season coming to a close."I'm really going to miss this team," said Evans, whose Utes open the World Series against Oklahoma State today at 5 p.m. MST. "It's going to be hard to see the seniors go - they're something else. They're such team players. This whole season has just been incredible and I'm going to hate to see it end."

Indeed, the Utes have put together a year to remember under their 33-year-old head coach. Utah has broken every school single-season record while going 50-11.

The '94 dream season has been a culmination of five hard years of work for Evans, who took the coaching job at her alma mater prior to the 1990 season. Utah, which has a rich softball tradition of which Evans was a part as a player from 1979-82, had three consecutive losing seasons prior to her taking over as coach. Since Evans' return, Utah has produced five straight winning years, a 158-99 overall record, two conference championships, three NCAA regional appearances and two World Series berths. Four times in her nine-year coaching career (Evans spent four years at Colorado State prior to coming to Utah) she's been voted the conference coach of the year, including this season.

Evans had a stellar recuiting class in 1991 that produced four all-star players that are now seniors - catcher Deb Dimeglio, second baseman Amy Timmel, shortstop Scooter Hoshide and third baseman Wendy Stewart as well as starting outfielder Pam Collins. Add to the mix the best freshman pitcher in the country (Ali Andrus), four hot-hitting underclassmen (sophomores Stacie Reynolds, Andi Moore and Tammy Beer and freshman Cyndee Bennett) and the Utes have the makings of a national championship contender.

"This team has amazing chemistry," Ute assistant coach Michelle Knapp said. "They work hard and love to play softball together. It's fun for these kids to have a chance to win the championship - especially for the seniors."

If Utah wins this evening it will face the winner of the Missouri vs. Cal State-Northridge game Friday at 7:30 p.m. Should the Utes lose, they would play the loser of the Missouri/Cal State-Northridge game Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The national championship game will be Monday at 1 p.m.

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