Senior Lindsay Callanan took some time to document the team’s recent roadtrip to Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes. Get a behind-the-scenes look through the senior’s eyes…
The Indiana softball team always manages to have a good time on the road and this weekend was no exception. On our way to Iowa City, we finally watched my favorite movie of all time, Dumb and Dumber, and it was a huge success. I added a few fans in Cassie and Shelby Gogreve, and also Sara Cretin. We also got to watch Hook, which is another classic. (Run Home Jack!) The ride to Iowa was not the most scenic route we have traveled all year as we were surrounded by cows and corn fields but we made it in pretty good time. When we arrived to our hotel (which was right across the street from the field) we headed to a nearby restaurant for a bite to eat.
Saturday morning brought us Subway with a day full of softball. Game one was a nail bitter as both teams remained scoreless until the 9th inning. Meaghan Murphy pitched her heart out and got the win for us, while Kelsey Brannon was unstoppable at the plate going 4-4 with the game winning RBI. Not to mention our outfield made some great plays to keep Iowa scoreless in the bottom of the seventh. Game two didn’t quite go our way as we lost 4-0 but we were confident in Sunday’s game in hopes to win the series. Saturday night the team ate at the delicious Old Chicago restaurant. Afterwards, most of the girls went back to the hotel to study for the stressful week of finals coming up.
Unfortunately Sunday’s outcome didn’t exactly go as planned and the Hawkeyes took game three from us. We ordered Which Wich for the trip home (which is my favorite sandwich place) and hit the road. The back of the bus was very fortunate because my wonderful mother sent me home with two boxes of cookies and I was also given homemade cookies from a family friend. They didn’t last more than 20 minutes. A lot of time was spent studying again since finals begin Monday, April 30th. Amanda Wagner and I had a blast in the back of the bus, preparing me for my Sign Language final. The rest stop in Illinois was the last of our fun when about half of the team stretched it out by doing cartwheels and handstands in the parking lot. The handstand champion, of course, was yours truly.
We hope that this weekend’s home series against Nebraska goes better and that we come out with a couple of wins. It will be senior weekend so get the tissues ready. Cassie, Sam, Heather and I have worked extremely hard in our time here and have been blessed to be Indiana Hoosiers.
After having played away for five weekends in New Mexico, Las Vegas, Fullerton, Georgia, and Oklahoma many of us were excited to play at home. Our Hoosier Classic tournament that we hosted went very well and was especially exciting to get increasing crowds full of our friends and family. It is such an amazing feeling to look up in the stands and out into the bleachers in the outfield to see our fan base growing each game—being a senior it is so exciting to see how far we have come from my freshman year. Now that we have settled into Big Ten conference play, and just having won the Purdue series might I add, our work ethic is being tested each day to keep at our team goals of winning the Big Ten and making postseason.
We have been very lucky this year with the crazy Indiana weather, having practiced outside since the end of February (even being able to get ‘suns out guns’ out a couple of days) and avoiding the typical cold winter—none of us California girls are complaining about that! The typical schedule of our team starts by having Monday off of practice following our weekend series (except for those of us lucky ones who get to go into the training room for rehab) and right into a 6:30AM lift Tuesday morning. Most of the girls have class starting either at 8:00AM or 9:30AM and go until practice starts at 1:30PM. Wednesday we have practice at 1:30PM as well, but are lucky to not have 6:30AM’s like Tuesday and Thursdays. If we are traveling for an away series we might hit in the morning Friday before getting on the bus, but if we have home games we will have normal practice at 12:30PM.
Now that we have just five weeks left in season, before we make postseason of course, it is hard to not look ahead to what is coming next. I remember freshman year thinking these next four years were going to go by so slowly and that graduation seemed so distant; now graduation is less than a month away and I can’t believe how fast time flew by. Each home series that my parents come to I slowly pack a suitcase or two to start moving home and my room has begun to look bare as I took down pictures and posters that covered my walls. “Real life” is something that seems so daunting as a freshman but now is slowly becoming reality as I talk to my fellow seniors about our plans for next year. It is sad to think how far apart we will be from each other when we have spent every waking moment together for the past four years—I intend to move back to San Diego and start graduate school in January at San Diego State in the Sport Business Management program. But then we all smile because we know that we will never actually be apart, that this special bond we have created through being teammates will never be broken. No matter where all of our separate paths take us, we will always be Hoosiers.
Cassie Gogreve is a senior and starting catcher on the IU Softball team
Below are the thoughts of senior catcher Cassie Gogreve as the Hoosiers prepare to get the season started later this week. She takes the time to let people in on what the Hoosiers have been doing away from the field over the past couple weeks.
For the past two weeks IU Softball has gathered for some wonderful weekly team dinners at various stellar Bloomington restaurants. During these, we get to let loose and have a good time off the field with one another. It’s so comforting and stress-relieving to sit around and talk about all the other things we have going on in our lives, and remember that each of us is more than just a softball player, but a student and adult as well. Our list of personal interests is endless and I find it so very important that we value each and every one of them, in order to nurture the complex and diverse women we all are.
The dynamics of our team are particularly perfect because there are few social cliques. Each player-to-player relationship is unique and adds to the overall eccentricity and make-up of the team. This collective, cohesive spirit makes team dinners particularly enjoyable, in that we all feel comfortable grubbing and gabbing with any of our teammates.
At the most recent dinner I was able to sit next to the brains of the team, Kelsey Brannon, Amanda Wagner, and “Billy” (Madison Diederich). Between chips and spicy salsa, we were busy solving mind-wrenching riddles, which we were all eventually able to solve in our own special way. I’m sure we all went to bed with red and white sombreros floating around our heads.
At other dinners, we’ve talked about how we would love to enact a designated snack time during practice. When the clock strikes HUNGRY someone will pull out the sliced oranges and Capri Suns and we will subsequently tear through them, just like in the good ol’ Little League days.
Even though it’s rough dragging around a party of 18 sometimes (an hour and half wait at one restaurant…really?!!?), we all patiently wait to get seated, anticipating our time together. Although we’re soon going to be spending virtually every waking moment together for the next several months, I’m thankful we can value the light-spirited, normal-college-kid times we have as a team, on the side.
All of this can only be a sign of great Hoosier things to come!
It’s Feb. 2 and that means a couple of things for the IU Softball team.
First, it means that the regular season starts in eight days (Feb. 10) in New Mexico against UIC. The anticipation is building among the players, coaches and staff as the start of a new year draws closer. The players have seen enough of the same pitcher (or pitching machine) each day in practice and will welcome a different motion in the circle. The same can be said for the hitters as they prepare to face pitchers that they may have never seen before but embrace the challenge of figuring them out and having success off them.
After finishing the 2011 season with a 37-18 overall record and 17-3 record in Big Ten play, the Hoosiers will take the field in 2012 looking to improve upon that and continue to build upon the national reputation that they made last year. For many, the Hoosiers arrival on the national scene last year came out of the blue but for those within the program, it was a step that everyone saw on the horizon and they took advantage of the opportunities present to them last year.
And the second thing that Feb. 2 means is that the Hoosiers have been practicing OUTDOORS for each of the past three days – so yes, that means that they were practicing outside during the month of January. And with the weather forecast calling for temperatures in the mid-50s again tomorrow, it will likely be a fourth straight day on the real grass and dirt of the IU Softball Field.
Here’s a link to some photos from Thursday’s practice: Practice photo gallery
It might sound like just a little thing but the fact that the Hoosiers will be able to take ground balls on dirt and not the FieldTurf of Mellencamp Pavilion should put them ahead of the curve from previous season openers. In years past, the Hoosiers would head west to start the season and when they took ground balls on the infield and fly balls in the outfield, it would be the first time they were on dirt and grass that season. Generally it doesn’t take too long to get used to the grass and dirt once they start playing on it, the fact that they will be able to go into the season opener with the peace of mind that they have already “been there, done that” will make for one less thing to worry about entering the first game against UIC on Feb. 10.
Make sure to check back to the Blog throughout the year as we have players and coaches talk about all kinds of things throughout the season. If you click the “subscribe” button at the top of the page you will receive email notification when a new post has been posted.
Also, you can follow the Hoosiers this season on twitter as twitter.com/iusoftball and you can follow the Hoosiers on Facebook (facebook.com/indianauniversitysoftball)
After the Spring semester, I will return to IU for one last semester to finish my studies in the Fall of 2012, and after that, I’m not quite sure what I will be doing. I’m getting my degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Graphic Design and Ceramics, so where ever that leads me is where I will end up! I am looking forward to seeing what lies ahead of me!
I am so excited to get going this Friday and can’t wait to start traveling for preseason. The season looks very promising and I can’t wait to experience it with everyone!
-by Heather Nelson (Senior – Riverside, Calif.)
The team arrived in Columbia, Mo., late Wednesday night after a pretty smooth bus ride from Bloomington across the Midwest via I-70. While it was late, the excitement of being in the NCAA Tournament was definitely in the air now that the team was in the city where it was going to play in postseason for the first time since 2006.
As the team woke up Thursday, the skies were a little overcast but the team trekked over to University Field on the campus of the University of Missouri (the host) to get their practice time on the field. The Hoosiers are the only one of the four teams that have not played on the field here. Obviously it is the home field for Missouri, Illinois State played here earlier this season and this is the third consecutive year that the DePaul Blue Demons have been sent to Columbia, so they are very familiar with the surroundings. As the team began to stretch and warmup, a light rain began to fall and quickly turned to a more steady rain, causing the grounds crew to quickly put the tarp on the field and put an end to team practices for the day.
Just as they have all season, the Hoosiers took it in stride. Following lunch, the team returned to the hotel for more quality time. I’m sure the anxiety only gets higher and higher when all you can do is sit in a hotel room and think about things (let’s be honest, what is really on TV on a Thursdasy at 2:00 p.m.?).
Friday brought the excitement of the first game of the Tournamnent for all but two (Morgan Melloh and Kelsey Stander) players. But before they could get to that, the team was going to have the chance to get on the dirt at University Field and practice for about one hour. The rain held off and temperatures rose to the mid-70s. It was easy to see that the Hoosiers enjoyed these 60 minutes out of the hotel – but little did they know what the day had in store.
The game against DePaul was scheduled for 4:00 p.m. CT, but the rain had started falling shortly after Noon CT and had not let up as the time for the team to depart the hotel for the game arrived. Coach Gardner received a call from the tournament officials and the game had been pushed back to 6:00 p.m. CT. That meant two more hours for the players to familiarize themselves with their already familiar hotel room. After two hours passed, the team once again packed up and was prepared to leave. But another call came through and the game was delayed two more hours. All of these delays were obvious to anyone that looked out their hotel window – the rain never stopped all afternoon. And with as much rain that came down, it was not likely that the field was going to be in playing condition. So, as expected, the games were eventually postponed for the day.
As a result of that, it meant the team was able to spend time with their friends/family that had made the trip over for the original 4:00 p.m. CT game. The team had a great time watching softball on ESPN as a large group in the restaurant attached to the hotel. And when it was all over, the players dispersed to their rooms because they had an early wakeup call on Saturday morning before a 10:00 a.m. CT first pitch against DePaul.
If you asked many of the players and staff, they will tell you that it felt like all they did was sit in the hotel and eat meals. And that’s basically what they did as a result of the rain. But it was very important for the players to get out on the field and get their sight lines down and get a feel for the infield at least while getting comfortable.
As a reminder, fans can listen and watch all games at the Columbia Regional by going to the NCAA Tournament Central page on IUHoosiers.com (Link: http://iuhoosiers.cstv.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/ind-2011-tourney-central.html)
There has been a flurry of attention that the Hoosiers have drawn over the past couple weeks and deservedly so. There have been so many individual and team performances that are worthy of much more attention than what they received. Before too much time passes, let’s take a minute to make sure that we have caught everything. Because “Team” comes first, we will look at the laundry list of accolades that this team has put together with a month still remaining in the season.
An 8-2 start to Big Ten play
After opening the conference schedule with weekend splits against Minnesota and then-No. 3 Michigan (more on this later), the Hoosiers have equaled their conference win total over the last two years combined. The 8-2 start is also the best start by an IU team to a Big Ten schedule since the 1994 team started 10-0.
Don’t forget the 28-15 overall record
Expanding the record out further, the Hoosiers are off to their best overall start to a season since an identical 28-15 start to the 1996 season. The 28 victories this season far surpasses the last two seasons and is the most in a season since a 30-win season in 2006 that led to an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
The current 8-game win streak
There have been a number of factors that have led to the current 8-game winning streak that the Hoosiers enjoy. Players that were struggling to find a groove at the plate early in the year are now hitting their stride and the timing could not be more perfect. The Hoosiers have outscored their opponents 34-10 during the streak and are hitting .271 as a team while Morgan Melloh is allowing opponents to hit just .121 in that span.
The current 7-game win streak in Big Ten play
This too goes back to that 10-0 start in conference action during the 1994 season, marking the last time the Hoosiers won seven straight conference tilts. The team has shown poise when their backs are seemingly against the wall while also showing that killer instinct to jump on an opponent when they have the advantage and put a game away. The coaches and players in the conference all know one another very well and they will all tell you that it is very difficult to run off that many wins in a row because the players and coaches are so good at making adjustments from game to game and even at-bat to at-bat.
Did I mention they are receiving votes!!!
In the April 19 edition of the ESPN.com/USA Today poll, the Hoosiers were receiving eight points in the poll to put them in the mythical No. 28 spot in the poll (two teams outside the Top 25 were receiving 10 points to rank ahead of the Hoosiers). This a bigger deal than some people will realize because wins have been hard to come by over the past two seasons under head coach Michelle Gardner but it was never for lack of effort. This year has been a different story and people across the country are beginning to take note.
Earning a Split at Michigan
Any win in the Big Ten is always going to be a good win, but on April 2, the Hoosiers ventured into Ann Arbor and did something that few teams have been able to do – escape with a win on the Wolverines home field. After dropping a very close contest in game one of a doubleheader, Morgan Melloh was sent back out to the circle in game two against a daunting lineup from Michigan. She was up to the task, and that’s putting it mildly. She issued 14 strikeouts and gave up just one earned run over eight innings to keep the UM bats at bay. Then it was another IU senior, Sara Olson, that single-handedly took control of the game at the plate. She hit a pair of home runs off Michigan’s top pitcher – Jordan Taylor – to account for all five RBI in a 5-4 victory in eight innings. The win was the first of any kind for the IU over Michigan in softball since 1996 and the first in Ann Arbor since 1993. Needless to say, it was a joyous bus ride back down I-69 towards Bloomington.
In the week ahead, we will also take a look back at some of the top individual performances of the year.
A couple schedule notes:
– The game on April 30 against Iowa will be the Hoosiers annual “Pink Game” where the team will wear pink to promote breast cancer awareness
– Contrary to the original schedule published, Indiana and Purdue will NOT play a doubleheader on Saturday, May 14. Instead, the Hoosiers will play host to Purdue on Friday, May 13 at 4:00 p.m. (LIVE on the Big Ten Network). The teams will then close the regular season on Saturday, May 14 at 1:00 p.m.
– The Hoosiers will also be on the Big Ten Network at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 8, when they take on Northwestern in Evanston, Ill.