Warhawks retool and continue winning ways

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Warhawks retool and continue winning ways

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April 1, 2015 By Justin St. Peter

Following a third-place finish in last year’s NCAA tournament that saw the Warhawks softball team graduate six senior starters, the team came into the year with a brand new lineup.

After a 10-2 opening season trip in Clermont, Florida, it is safe to say the new lineup is succeeding on the field.

“I think my main thing going into the season was I just thought it was going to take time for them to learn to play with each other because there were so many new faces,” head coach Brenda Volk said. “I thought for so many new people on the field, we did really well in Florida.”

The Warhawks came into the season ranked No. 5 in the nation, even after the graduation and swapping of positions on the field.

“There is a new face at every position but on the mound,” Volk said.

Following a season opening walk-off two-run home run loss 5-4 to No. 17 North Central College (Ill.) on March 20, the ’Hawks won three games in a row against Endicott College (Mass.), Plattsburgh State (N.Y.) and Oberlin (Ohio) College.

The ’Hawks then fell to Wellesley College (Mass.) 8-6 after not being able to come back from a seven run third inning.

After the early morning loss, the ’Hawks were able to shutout Elmhurst College (Ill.) 7-0 and begin a seven game win streak.

Head coach Brenda Volk recorded her 500th career victory on March 25 after the ’Hawks notched blow-out victories versus Thomas College (Maine) and Union College (N.Y.) to become the 26th active coach to reach that milestone.

Volk already has the most victories in the history of the WIAC.

Infielder Jo Jablonski was there for Volk’s 400th win as a freshman and 500th win as a senior.

“I am super proud of our girls,” Jablonski said. “I am very thankful to have the opportunity to play in that game and get her 500th win.”

Volk said she was proud of what the accomplishment meant to the program.

“It’s a great thing for our program,” Volk said. “There are so many people who deserve credit for this accomplishment, including my staff that has been with me for all 500 of them, and all the UWW softball alumni that share such a huge part in all those wins.”

The Warhawks ended the trip with two more victories against Elmhurst College and Buena Vista University (Iowa) on March 26.

Jablonski said the team enjoyed their season-opening trip.

said. “We had some great weather and got to play some great competitive teams. We got to start off our season on a really good note.”

“It was a lot of fun,” Jablonski said. “We had some great weather and got to play some great competitive teams. We got to start off our season on a really good note.”

They then hosted the No. 6 team in the nation, the Illinois Wesleyan Titans, who they beat in a three-game series last year to advance to the eight team championship.

Despite Jablonski hitting a pair of two-run home runs, the ’Hawks fell 10-5 to the Titans on March 30.

The ’Hawks then beat the Titans 5-3 in a game that was called after five innings due to darkness. Senior catcher Paige Evangelista hit a grand slam in the ’Hawks five-run first inning which proved to be the winning margin.

Senior pitcher Kelynn Sporer picked up her fourth win of the season on the mound.

The ’Hawks now head into a stretch of 12 straight WIAC conference games which will be a good barometer to see if they will win the WIAC conference once again.

“The conference is up for grabs this year, probably more than it ever has been,” Volk said. “If we played the way we did in Florida, we definitely have a chance to finish on top.”

The ’Hawks play double-headers against UW-Stout, UW-River Falls, and UW-Stevens Point on the road over the next week.

 

 

 

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