Huskies prepare for Spirit tourney

By Carl Ackerman

The more a team plays, the better a team gets is a theory shared by many.

NIU’s softball team has been challenged by this theory in its current string of 18 games in 11 days. This challenge will be over soon.

But first, the Huskies must battle in the Spirit of St. Louis Invitational Softball Tournament April 13-15.

Hosted by the University of Missouri, the six-team tournament will be played at ABC Field in St. Ann, Mo., a northwestern St. Louis suburb.

NIU will face Utah State for the first time ever in a 2 p.m. matchup April 13 and top-20 Missouri at 4 p.m. Games on April 14 will feature the Universtity of Oklahoma at noon, University of Florida at 2 p.m. and Iowa State at 6 p.m. The final tournament performance is slated for April 15 at noon.

“This will be a fun tournament for us because these are teams we don’t usually see in a regular season,” said NIU coach Dee Abrahamson.

The tournament also could help NIU’s individual rankings if they are successful.

The April 11 NCAA statistical report has three NIU players listed among the nation’s top 36 hitters. Lisa Gilfoy leads the Huskie pack with a .413 batting average which is ranked No. 23 in the country. Jeanne Richeal, an outfielder batting .407, is ranked No. 26 while Julie Sexton is No. 36 with a .392 batting average.

Five NIU players are ranked in the North Star Conference batting average statistics led by numbers one and two Gilfoy and Richeal.

NIU (11-16-2) is fifth in the NSC standings with an 11-16-2 mark. Illinois-Chicago leads the conference with a 16-2 record.