Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 30, 2019 at 11:50 pm Contact Zach: firstname.lastname@example.org For 5-foot-6 utility player Alexis Abboud, a 2,700-mile journey from California to central New York wasn’t the product of Syracuse’s location or athletic facilities. It was Abboud’s belief in head coach Shannon Doepking.Eight days away from Syracuse softball’s season-opener against San Diego State, Abboud is still learning from upperclassmen utility players Bryce Holmgren and Alicia Hansen. Following a prolonged practice on Jan. 23, an opportunistic Abboud instinctively associated her new life with her flexible outlook on 2019. As she looks into her freshman campaign, Abboud prepares to play top Atlantic Coast Conference competition, including her sister, Rachel, who’s playing in her second year at Duke.“Being a freshman, I have awesome people ahead of me that I get to learn from and play with every day,” Abboud said. “I think right now my role is to learn as much as I can from them.”Growing up in La Canada, California, the Abboud sisters started softball at a young age. Though the two went to different high schools, Abboud and Rachel played together in tee ball, and eventually joined together on the same travel team in the Firecrackers travel organization, where the two captured the 2016 PGF National Championship.Abboud committed to Syracuse despite her belief that early playing time was not guaranteed. SU already had Holmgren, who hit .413 last season, and Hansen, who led the team in home runs (5). Knowing that, Abboud wanted to learn from SU’s top players, something that Lailoni Mayfield went through a year prior.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Alicia took me under her wing, and that helped me with the softball aspects of the sport being both an infielder and outfielder,” Mayfield said, “and Bryce helped me keep my mentality correct and help me keep things in perspective.”Now, a sophomore, Mayfield has looked to do the same for Abboud as she transitions to collegiate softball. For Holmgren, from Roland, Iowa, and Hansen, from Liverpool, the last three years in central New York’s weather and softball program have been far from foreign. But for Abboud and Mayfield, natives of La Canada and Cerritos, California, respectively, attending Syracuse has been a wakeup call.“It’s definitely an adjustment, but it makes me a better player, in the long run,” Abboud said, “having to adapt and learn new things out here every day.”Abboud faces scenarios that are a commonality among most freshman: her role is undefined, and she’s trying to learn from top players at a fast pace.But instead of having her sights on the Orange’s first game or her first crack at playing time, her most anticipated outing in 2019 won’t come for another three months. Come April 12, the first ever tilt between the Orange and Blue Devils will take place, and for the Abboud’s, a family reunion.“That game against Duke,” Abboud said of what she’s most looking forward to.