Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

“What matters is where we finish”

Junior and last year’s All-WIAC team honorable mention third baseman Grace Wickman looks to help lead the Warhawks this season by being vocal.

With the weather starting to warm up it means softball season is just around the corner. After winning last year’s regular season WIAC championship, UW-Whitewater has been picked to win it once again according to a poll conducted by the conference’s head coaches and sports information directors.

The Warhawks have been dominant winning seven of the last nine regular season conference championships. Not only that but the Warhawks have produced 17 straight seasons with 20-plus wins. As well as adding another NCAA tournament appearance, their 23rd, in program history last year. The consistency is thanks to Whitewater’s head coach Brenda Volk, who is entering her 26th season as head coach. 

“You come in every year there is a little tradition to it, so your expectations are very high. I think that our upperclassmen do a great job of teaching the new kids how we do things around here. We just try to focus on one game at a time because it doesn’t matter what we did last year, it doesn’t matter if we are picked to get first, it matters where we finish. We have to focus on ourselves and do what we do best,” says Volk. 

Members of last year’s first team All-WIAC Maddy Anderson, Brooke Hock, Taylor Koehler and Kiarra Kostroski will all return to the lineup for the Warhawks this season. In total the Warhawks are returning 19 total players from last year’s team. 

“Last year getting to the NCAA tournament and getting that experience. We were so close and easily could have gone on to super regionals last year. I think just the experience and the growth is really going to help us this year,” says Volk.

Players, like junior third baseman Grace Wickman, are looking to be vocal and help lead the team.

“I want to be a leader on and off the field. I feel like a third baseman kind of sees a lot in the field. Saying where the next play is going in between pitches, how many out there are, talking to my pitcher things like that. I’m pretty straight forward so if I see something that someone can do better I am going to let them know,” says Wickman.

Just because they are picked to win the conference doesn’t mean it will be easy. The WIAC is one of the toughest conferences in softball. The Warhawks will be threatened mostly by UW-La Crosse, who won last year’s WIAC tournament. La Crosse is projected to finish in second place and returns their two-time WIAC pitcher of the year in Elise Weinzierl. La Crosse, however, will be with a new coach this season as Sam Korn will be taking over. 

“Last year we were picked to finish fourth or fifth and then we ended up winning the conference. Everyone in our conference is great at softball. There is some pressure you want to meet expectations but when its game time you have to put those expectations out of your mind and just play the game,” says Wickman 

The WIAC schedule begins April 13. Each team will play a 14-game conference slate with the top six teams in the standings advancing to the WIAC Tournament to be held May 9-12, at the home field of the regular season champion. The winner of the conference tournament secures an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Championship tournament.


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About the Contributor
Brian Gale
Brian Gale, Women's Sports Journalist

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