The Stars Head Into Conference Play With Momentum

April 5, 2016

By Christopher Sich

The Dominican University Women’s softball team has gone 2-2 since returning from Fort Myers, FL. The Stars had not played in two and a half weeks heading into their doubleheader against Elmhurst College at The Ballpark at Rosemont on March 29, which led to their slow start.

“The team was definitely rusty after being off from games for two and a half weeks; we were in a great rhythm leaving Florida and you hate to see that broken,” said Head Coach Cristina Lukas. “We had a tough first game loss vs. Elmhurst, but played much better as the day went on.”

The doubleheader loss to Elmhurst was disappointing. Nonetheless, it was a noteworthy day because it was the first time the Stars played at their new home field, The Stadium at the Ballpark at Rosemont. The Stars have played a handful games at The Ballpark at Rosemont throughout the past couple seasons, but this is the first season in Dominicans history that the softball team can call The Ballpark at Rosemont their home. 

“Being able to call The Stadium at the Ballpark in Rosemont our home field is the greatest experience we could give our student-athletes here at Dominican,” Lukas said. “Every time you walk into the ballpark you say ‘wow’; it is truly an amazing experience every time we play there.”

Playing at the Ballpark at Rosemont has several benefits, and for sophomore pitcher Michele Behrens, it’s a dream come true.

“The field is real nice, in great shape, and very spacious,” Behrens said. “Knowing that the Chicago Bandits play there, and Jenny Finch played there, makes it a dream come true in a way.”

The Stars had their next doubleheader at The Ballpark at Rosemont on March 30 against North Park, two days after their losses to Elmhurst, and came out strong as they pounced on the Vikings and won in convincing fashion.

“We worked on some key things during Tuesdays practice and had a goal to have a more aggressive approach; the team definitely responded and our bats came to life,” Lukas said. “The team was outstanding offensively against North Park and made fast, effective adjustments.”

According to Coach Lukas, the return of Freshman Gabby Curran to the lineup was also huge for the team. Curran was hurt for the teams first 10 games in Florida and is a middle-of-the-order hitter for us, in addition to being an excellent defensive player.

Now the Stars must prepare for their first conference games against rivals Concordia-Wisconsin and Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE).

“The games against North Park were a nice momentum boost going into the weekend,” Lukas said.

The practices in between games are very important for the Stars.

“We gear our practices toward things we need to work on, in addition to preparing for specific opponents and the types of pitches we will be facing,” Lukas said.

Even though the game on Saturday against Concordia-Wisconsin was postponed, the Stars must prepare for MSOE on Sunday, and then quickly turn their focus back to Concordia-Wisconsin as they play them the very next day.

According to Lukas, MSOE is very good team with strong pitching and is capable of shutting down a good team, so it will be imperative that the Stars bring their “A” game on Sunday. The Stars must also bring their “A” game against Concordia-Wisconsin.

“The team is pretty fired up to start conference play and to play against Concordia-Wisconsin, a very evenly matched team,” Lukas said. “If we can force teams to hit to beat us, limiting walks and bunts with solid bunt defense, teams like Concordia-Wisconsin will struggle to score runs.”

The Stars schedule for the rest of the season consists of only conference games, so it is important that they get off to a good start this weekend. The Stars next home game at The Ballpark at Rosemont will be on April 10 as they face Lakeland College.