April 11, 2017
By Christopher Sich
The Dominican University women’s softball team returned home from the Gene Cusic Classic in Fort Myers, Fl, with a 12-0 record, but has gone 3-3 since. The perfect record in Florida was a great start to the season and was one for the record books.
“Winning 12-0 was such a big accomplishment as a team,” Junior Michele Behrens said. “This was the first time the softball program has gone 12-0, and it feels good to be a part of strong team who is able to do that. I’m hoping forward on, we can play as strong as we did back in Florida.”
The whole team was thrilled with the teams start to the season. Sophomore Gabby Curran shared similar feelings.
“It is hard to win two games in a day, but to do that every day for six days straight, is incredible and shows that people rose to the occasion and played hard every day,” Curran said. “It showed that all the hard work we put in during the preseason paid off.”
Even with the strong start to the season, the Stars must stay focused on improving and playing consistently.
“The team is rising to the occasion in high pressure situations and playing really well against top competitors, but we need to stop playing down to the other team’s level,” Behrens said.
The Stars are also looking to improve at the plate and hitting certain types of pitchers.
“We need to improve on hitting different style pitchers,” Head Coach Cristina Lukas said. “We tend to hit certain pitchers well and others we struggle with. If we improve on that, we will score a lot of runs consistently.”
These, though, are things that the Stars can quickly improve on with repetition and practice. There are plenty more things that the team is doing well.
“We have 2 solid pitchers with Sydney Kuderna and Cat Klostermann; they rank among the top pitchers in the conference in several statistical categories,” Lukas said. “We have a strong defense behind them which limits our opponents in scoring.”
According to Lukas the team is also youthful, but experienced. Most of the players in the starting lineup has at least one year of playing time under their belt.
“It’s a huge advantage when you can keep a team together because you can continue to work on your team’s weaknesses and get better over multiple seasons,” Lukas said.
According to Curran, the team’s youth will be very important in the future. All the field players minus the first basemen will be the same for the next two years.
“That means that we will have a ton of experience working together and knowing how each other play which will establish a sense of trust among teammates,” Curran said. “Another pro is that we all will learn and grow together as a team.”
Having gone 3-3 since returning from the Florida, the Stars know they can and must be more consistent if they want to achieve their season goals.
“I feel that every year, our goal is to make conference. We typically do make the conference tournament, but every year is a new team so we can’t just assume we’ll be in it because another team could pull it right from under us,” Behrens said. “We have to take it first focus on making the conference tournament, once we secure a spot, we can then focus on being conference champions and qualify for the national tournament!”
After playing four conference games over the weekend, the Stars will play again on Thursday, April 13, as they travel down the street to face Division Street rival Concordia University Chicago in a doubleheader.