JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoThe Wisconsin softball team finished this weekend with just one win in four games, but they still came away with smiles on their faces.The Badgers (11-28, 1-7 Big Ten) played a doubleheader against Indiana on Sunday, splitting the series 1-1.UW won the second of the two games 3-0 behind a stellar pitching performance from freshman Kristyn Hansen to earn their first Big Ten win of the season.“I had a little bit of butterflies,” Hansen said. “But I stood strong, and by the second inning they were gone and I was ready to go.”Hansen learned that she would be starting the second game only minutes before the opening pitch. Head coach Chandelle Schulte gave Hansen the nod after junior Leah Vanevenhoven threw six innings in the first game of the doubleheader and sophomore Letty Olivarez had given up five runs in the seventh inning of that game.“What a tremendous mental giant,” assistant coach Julie Wright said of Hansen. “She found out literally 10 minutes before the game started. … She was huge for us.”Even though it was just the first Big Ten start of her career, Hansen came out strong and carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning. She finished the game giving up only three hits and earned the first Big Ten win of her career with a complete game shutout.“My goal is a down ball game,” Hansen said. “The way I pitch, batters tend to hit a lot of ground balls. That is why [the coaches] like me in there, because when we need a ground ball I can usually get one.”Aiding Hansen’s strong pitching performance was a defense that didn’t commit any errors and made several spectacular plays.“That is the best defense I have seen us play in practice or in games all season long,” Wright said. “They told me afterwards, ‘We don’t know what clicked, but we relaxed and had fun together,’ and you can see the result.”Badger hitters only managed to collect four hits for the game, but they made them count as they opened up the scoring in the fourth inning. Alexis Garcia got UW on the board with a solo home run, her fourth of the season. After consecutive singles by Olivarez and Lynn Anderson, Wisconsin tacked on two more runs by taking advantage of a defensive error and a wild pitch.“We capitalized when we got some runners on,” Wright said. “It had been a thorn in our side all season, so it was nice to execute in that situation.”The first game of the twin billing did not go as smoothly as the second, though. UW started the game with an RBI double from Valyncia Raphael, as the Badgers scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Both pitchers shut down opposing batters to keep the score at 2-0 going into the top of the seventh.It all unraveled in the final inning for the Badgers as relief pitcher Olivarez gave up five runs in one inning of work. Wisconsin could only get one back in the bottom of the seventh for a final score of 5-3.“We were feeling pretty good about it,” Wright said about leading the game going into the seventh frame. “You always want more runs and we hadn’t scored since the first inning, so two runs never feels like enough. We were feeling pretty good still, and they weren’t swinging the bat too well, but then it all fell apart.”The Badgers lost 4-3 to Purdue Saturday with much of the blame falling on the defense. Vanevenhoven got the start for UW, and four runs were scored against her, though none of them were earned.Friday the Badgers struggled to execute on offense and lost their home opener 5-2 to the Boilermakers.
Comments The Syracuse forwards knew they’d face a challenge going up against Boston University’s backs. The Terriers had an immense height advantage.BU backs Kate Murphy, Kiley Allosso and Jacinda McLeod are 5 feet 11 inches, 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 11 inches, respectively. SU head coach Ange Bradley said she knew they would tower over the much smaller SU forwards, Heather Susek and Kelsey Millman.‘They’re aggressive; they’re hard defenders,’ she said. ‘They’re a very good team, so when you’re 5-foot-9 and you can have a reach that makes you about 6-foot-5 with a stick, and we’re only about 5-foot-6, we definitely needed to prepare for that.’Bradley told her players to stay strong on the ball and not to let the taller BU players push them off the play. And that’s what the Orange did on Sunday, as it beat the Terriers in a 3-2 victory at J.S. Coyne Stadium. But the five different penalty cards issued by referees and the falls on the field proved it wasn’t easy.Bradley didn’t underestimate the power that BU’s players would bring.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textShe showed her team video of BU’s previous games and gave the forwards some technical advice on how they can avoid losing the ball to players that towered over them. Each of SU’s three goals reflected that technique. That technique showed with Susek’s goal, a battle between her and BU goalkeeper Jess Maroney, with Susek edging the ball in off the right-hand goal line.‘We as a team are quite small, so we have to be extra strong on the ball if we want to play against big girls like them,’ junior back Amy Kee said. ‘Heather and Kelsey are quite small, and I don’t think they got pushed off the ball much at all.’The aggressiveness of the game led to five penalty cards being issued — two green cards to SU, two to BU and one yellow card to a BU player, which resulted in BU playing down a player for 10 minutes. BU midfielder Nicole van Oosterom was issued the yellow card for a physical tackle during an SU breakaway. Junior back Iona Holloway was issued a green card for what she called a ‘bad stick tackle.’In addition to the penalty cards — some of which were for technical violations, like being too close to a player who’s taking a free hit or defenders leaving the goal line on a corner before the ball is played — the game was filled with tough play. Players from both teams struggled to remain on their feet, sometimes resulting in minor injuries.Seven minutes into the second half, Kee felt the power of the BU backs. She took a fall after colliding with a BU player while trying to score off a penalty corner, taking nearly a minute to walk off the injury.‘They’re big girls and they’re really strong in their tackles,’ said Kee. ‘They went through the players, they weren’t scared to get their body in the game.’Overall, Bradley felt that with the exception of some ‘flurries’ in front of the goal in the first half, her squad did a fine job standing up to the taller players. She doesn’t think it’s something her team will have to worry about seeing often.‘Most tall girls played basketball and volleyball, thank God,’ Bradley said. ‘We’re a little short in field hockey. BU is a very tall team, and they’ve got a lot of size and stature. They’re probably one of the biggest we’ll see, height-wise.’After the intense, physical game, SU players took time to stretch their legs on the field as a team before entering the locker room. The effects of the day’s play were apparent but not unexpected.‘It’s a game of putting everything out on the line,’ Millman said. ‘We really just go after it. Sometimes, you just fall.’[email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm