Softball team concludes fall with trio of victories

By Jeff Steffen

The NIU softball team wrapped up its impressive exhibition season by winning all three games at the University of Iowa tournament Sunday, lifting its record to 8-1.

The softball squad started off the day versus Western Illinois University for the third time in just over a week. NIU triumphed 2-1, which should not have come as a surprise. (NIU knocked off WIU by the same mark in two previous meetings.)

Tracy Meade was the winning pitcher, allowing just five hits over seven innings.

In the second game, NIU battled the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. The Huskies—trailing after one inning—tied the game in the second, and took the lead for good in the third inning. The Huskies prevailed 5-3. Kim Compton went the distance for the win.

The Huskies were scheduled to play the host Hawkeyes, but Iowa’s game with WIU went into extra innings, so NIU played UW-GB a second time.

In that second match-up, the Huskies grabbed an early 3-0 lead and managed to hold on in a game shortened by darkness. Kristen Vandenhouten recorded the win for the Huskies, and Tracy Meade avoided a bases loaded jam to notch the save.

This tournament ended the Huskies’ exhibition season record at 8-1, the lone loss coming to Northeastern Illinois in the NIU Fall Tournament (2-1).

NIU started off the exhibition season with a double-header win over Indiana State University.

After the setback to Northeastern in the NIU tourney, the Huskies bounced back with wins over WIU, Ball State University, and again over WIU in the championship game.

That brought the Huskies ledger to 5-1—how they entered this weekend’s tournament at Iowa.

The Huskies will be vying for a fourth North Star Conference crown in the last five years when the regular season commences in the spring. To do that, NIU will have to get past DePaul University—a co-favorite to win the conference with the Huskies.