LA VERNE, Calif. — University of La Verne softball graduate assistant Yvon Minogue wasn't at the Leopards' SCIAC opener Saturday against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, but the former collegiate standout had a good excuse.
Minogue was busy at Bill Barber Park in Irvine representing the Mexican National team in a pair of exhibition games against No. 2 world ranked Japan.
"It's really awesome that I get to play at that level and represent a nation," said Minogue who is in her second season coaching the Leopards. "I know that I'm playing with and against the best and that continues to challenge me and help me grow."
Minogue, who is currently pursuing a master's degree in educational counseling, has been a member of the Mexican National Team for three years and has played on the active roster the past two seasons. After a stellar career at the University of South Dakota, Minogue attended a tryout for Team Mexico and was one of just four people in a pool of over 100 players selected to join the team. During her time with the squad, Minogue has played against some of the top teams in the world including Puerto Rico, Canada, and Japan.
The Leopards boast two coaches on their staff with international playing experience. Head Coach Julie Smith represented Team USA, starting at second base when the squad captured the 1996 Olympic Gold Medal in Atlanta, and also helped lead the USA to a pair of World Championships.
"I think it helps that Julie and I have both played internationally. Our team can trust us because they know we've been at that level," said Minogue.
Minogue looks to remain a key member of Team Mexico and help her team as they attempt to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.
Minogue had a spectacular collegiate career at the University of South Dakota where she was a two-time NFCA All-Region honoree and three-time First Team All-Summit League selection for the Coyotes. She finished her career with 31 home runs, third-most in program history, 143 RBIs (third-most), and 140 runs scored (fifth most). She broke USD and Summit League records for career hits with 271 and doubles with 63. Her .403 career average is a USD record and ranks fourth in Summit League history.
The Leopards did well in Minogue's absence, opening conference play with a 5-3 win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. La Verne softball is back in action this weekend at Chapman when they play the Panthers in a doubleheader beginning at noon.