Storm softball assistant gets chance of a lifetime — again


(Photo: Courtesy of Vivi Marquez)

by Matt Lash, Sports Editor

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Two years ago, Vivi Marquez was late in her junior year of college at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Later that year, she was invited to try out for the Women’s Mexico National Team for a chance to play on the team that represents her nationality and family.

Her try out went well, but nothing short of excellent was expected to make the team. Marquez was cut on the third day of the try out, but that didn’t stop her from playing the game she loved.

Now, two years later, Marquez is an assistant coach for the Storm softball program. As the only assistant coach in the program with an office on campus, Marquez is kept busy with practices, workouts, helping players with anything and everything and improving her own game.

“I think a lot of girls feel more comfortable asking me for extra attention than coach Matthias because they know he’s busy and I’m usually here too,” Marquez said.

After she missed the cut two years ago, Marquez continued her passion for the sport, but didn’t expect to get a second invitation for a try out. That’s exactly what she got this year.

“I thought I would be done playing and when this opportunity came I’ve been working really hard,” Marquez said.

Being one year removed from playing at a high level has helped the team and head coach Brent Mattias make improvements to a team that went just 8-28 last season.

“I think our players can really relate to her, because she is one year removed from playing at the highest level,” Matthias said.

Although Marquez has continued her passion for softball, she’d eventually like to move up in a larger program.

(Photo: Courtesy of Vivi Marquez)

“My dream job would be a head coach at an upper division school. The full dream would be a Division I school, but right now I’m going for NAIA or Division II school,” Marquez said.

Right now, Matthias and Marquez are focusing on the upcoming season, but not overlooking this major accomplishment for a member of their program.

Marquez didn’t make the final cut, but the invitation was a major accomplishment.

“What a great example it is for young ladies to go and try something,” Matthias said. “To go and know that you’re one of an elite number. That’s the victory right there.”

Marquez traveled to Irvine, California, on Feb. 8 to for the tryouts on Feb. 9-11. In addition to a basic skills practice, the tryouts included multiple exhibition games against the Women’s Japan National Team.

“When I tried out two years ago, I made it to the third day along with two other catchers, but none of us made the final cut,” Marquez said.

For Matthias and the Storm, Marquez brings a passion that they need to be successful. With a culture change in the offseason, Matthias expects to see a more competitive season.

“The big push in the offseason was about culture,” Matthias said. “We talk about how nothing is given and everything is earned. We need to get back to earning our wins.”

Senior Annie Stolte, a shortstop with a strong hitting ability is grateful for coach Marquez and her ability to help the team improve on their batting.

“Having a great hitter analyze your swing is always beneficial,” Stolte said. “The thing I enjoy most about her is that she doesn’t want us all to have her swing, she wants us to have our own. So rather than completely rebuilding a swing to match a certain set of mechanics, she wants to enhance what we already do.”

Stolte and the team have already noticed how willing to help coach Marquez is.

“She is someone that works her tail off to be a great athlete, but also strives to be a great person too,” Stolte said.