UWGB, Loyola come calling without rain

By Rob Bolton

Take two.

That’s the motto this week for the NIU softball team.

After a week’s worth of ups and downs, the ladies are ready to get back on the track of their winning ways.

Tomorrow, Wisconsin-Green Bay invades the Softball Complex while Sunday reserves the arrival of Loyola.

Both are doubleheaders, of course, and both are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. But, as head coach Dee Abrahamson noted, the lack of a guarantee of even one pitch has the team finding other ways of beating Mother Nature.

“Lately, with the bad weather … (the players) are getting a chance to get caught up with classes,” she said. “I think that will help us down the stretch here from being exhausted in the end.”

Undoubtedly, the long home stand has helped, but the current situation in which the Huskies find themselves hasn’t made the short rides home any easier.

UWGB, Illinois-Chicago and DePaul are all undefeated in the Mid-Continent Conference. NIU (26-11) is 7-1 and positioned in fourth. In fact, none of the four teams has played another, so, tomorrow is early gut-check time for both the Huskies and Phoenix.

“There’s a lot on the line here and it could, indeed, come down to who you’re rained out against,” Abrahamson said.

DePaul faces UWGB on Sunday while UIC goes up against Eastern Illinois (today) and Western Illinois (tomorrow) to test its merit.

And while Loyola doesn’t pose a conference threat, the Ramblers are a regional opponent. But, NIU has a 10-0 overall series lead over the visitors from Chicago’s North Side.

Unfortunately, this time of year not only serves as the ‘conference tourney seed’ chase, it also possesses possible problems for the players—off the field.

“It’s always a busy time of the year,” said Abrahamson. “(The players) have friends who are moving out in the next couple of weeks that they’re not going to see again and people graduating that they’re not going to see again. So, socially, there’s a lot of demands on their time. Academically, obviously, (they’re) going into finals.”

And, the Huskies would like to see good results after their field exams this weekend. If victories are abundant, then the (conference) finals await.