USI facing Rogers State in NCAA Softball Championship opener
Screaming Eagles set to close out farewell tour from Division II competition
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The University of Southern Indiana softball program set high goals for its final season in NCAA Division II, and it’s been so far so good as the team’s “farewell tour” has been quite the ride.
After winning the Great Lakes Valley Conference regular-season title, USI (49-11) swept through its opponents to be crowned the GLVC tournament champions as well.
The Eagles then followed that up with a thrilling run through the NCAA Midwest Regional, before taking care of business against Grand Valley State this week to secure a spot in the College World Series.
And now, USI will soon be heading off for the NCAA Division II Softball Championships in Denver, Colorado.
USI’s head coach Sue Kunkle and company says now that they’ve made it, their focus is on staying true to what they’ve done all season.
“Our staff has been there, so we’ve kind of been relaying things and really getting them prepared and in the moment,” Kunkle says. “I think that we’re ready, we have such a good mindset right now, I don’t even think it matters who we play or when we play, they’ll be ready to win it.”
Some of the USI players, like sophomore catcher Sammie Kihega and senior designated player Katie Back, expressed the emotions they are feeling after winning the championship opener.
“Taking the emotion and the adrenaline, we just clinched our ticket in two games, and we can do it, we’re going to give it our all,” says Kihega.
“As it gets more and more intense, people can get caught up,” Back says. “But I think since we’ve been able to stay so relaxed through this whole thing and have a lot of fun, you can’t make that stuff up that in the 7th inning, stuff like that. Us being able to build of that excitement has been huge for us,” she continued.
Slated as the No. 4 seed in the eight-team tournament, the Eagles’ first opponent will be Rogers State. Game time is scheduled for Thursday at 2:30 p.m.
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