Kowalik glad to have used her COVID year

Published 12:55 pm Thursday, March 9, 2023

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All-American catcher Kayla Kowalik got off to a slow start for her this season, but it was only fitting she had a rare five-hit game when she became UK’s all-time leader in hits.

“I think my expectations are always high. They never decrease,” said Kowalik, who is hitting .404 with nine RBIs and ten runs scored in 17 games.

That’s part of the reason she took her COVID year to play a fifth season for Kentucky, even though she has been brilliant both offensively and defensively the previous two years.

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“I am not going to lie. The minute COVID hit, it was like, ‘Coach Lawson, I am coming back.’ I knew I wanted a year back and could pursue my MBA and extend my education. I knew I wanted to stick around Kentucky softball and our staff,” Kowalik said.

She admitted she wanted to “beat everybody” this year, especially teams with friends she made while playing USA Softball. She also said she was looking forward to playing SEC rival Florida.

“One of my best friends is playing for Ole Miss, so I am looking forward to going there and hopefully giving them a beatdown,” Kowalik said.

Kowalik says she is a bit more “sentimental” this season because she knows it is her last one at Kentucky.

“I am taking in more opportunities and memories,” the catcher said. “I am playing with some of my best friends, and I would not want to be with anybody else.”

As good as Kowalik has been at Kentucky, she said she made some changes in attitude last year that helped her.

“I am such a hard-headed person that it takes me a little bit to understand things. It was kind of like a switch just flipped last year. What can I do to help my pitchers out more? What can I do not only be a good player but also be a good person for my teammate to help them perform the way they need to,” Kowalik said. “I want to help them as much as they help me. So if I can help them, our team will be infinitely better.”