Feb. 4, 2015
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- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
The Hawkeyes open their 2015 season at the UNI Dome Tournament, Feb. 6-8, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Iowa will face Drake and tournament host Northern Iowa on Friday, Southern Utah and North Dakota State on Saturday and conclude the weekend against Green Bay on Sunday Feb. 8.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
Fans can follow all the action with live stats (Gametracker). The “GT” link can be accessed under the “Calendar” tab on the front page of hawkeyesports.com or on the softball schedule page. For in-game updates, follow @IowaSoftball on Twitter and “like” our official page on Facebook, facebook.com/iowahawkeyessoftball.
TAKING ON THE BEST
Fifteen of Iowa’s 2015 opponents are ranked or receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Preseason poll released Jan. 20. They include: Florida (1), Oregon (2), Oklahoma (4), Michigan (8), Louisiana-Lafayette (9), Minnesota (15), Missouri (17), Nebraska (18), Tulsa (21), Wisconsin (RV), UCF (RV), North Carolina State (RV), Northwestern (RV), Hofstra (RV), and Cal State Fullerton (RV).
IN THE RANKINGS – B1G
Five Big Ten teams appeared the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Preseason poll released Jan. 27. No. 8 Michigan, No. 15 Minnesota, and No. 20 Nebraska are ranked within the top 25, while Wisconsin and Northwestern are both receiving votes.
B1G IN THE POSTSEASON
Five Big Ten teams punched their ticket to the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Co-Big Ten regular season champions Michigan and Nebraska and Big Ten Tournament Champion Minnesota won their regionals before losing in the Super Regional round. Both Wisconsin and Northwestern were knocked out of the postseason in the regional round.
Drake posted a 19-33 overall record in 2014, and finished sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference at 11-14. Iowa and Drake split a pair of meetings last season. Iowa won the first meeting, 9-0, in six innings at the Getterman Classic in Waco, Texas. Drake took the second meeting with a 5-3 win in Iowa’s home opener on April 2. Iowa leads the all-time series 35-11.
SCOUTING NORTHERN IOWA
Northern Iowa finished fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference (14-12), and posted an overall record of 28-20 in 2014. The Panthers edged out a 9-8 win over the Hawkeyes at Pearl Field on April 30. Iowa has a 28-17 advantage in the all-time series.
SCOUTING SOUTHERN UTAH
Saturday marks the first meeting between the Hawkeyes and the Thunderbirds. Southern Utah finished third in the Big Sky Conference with a 10-6 mark, and posted a 23-31 overall record in 2014.
SCOUTING NORTH DAKOTA STATE
North Dakota State posted a 36-18 overall record and finished 13-3 in the Summit League a season ago. The Bison earned an NCAA Tournament berth following their Summit League Tournament title before being knocked out in the regional round. The Hawkeyes and Bison haven’t met since 2007, when Iowa notched the 3-0 shutout win. Iowa holds a 5-0 edge in the all-time series.
SCOUTING GREEN BAY
Green Bay posted a 27-14 overall record in 2014 record, and took the Horizon League regular season title with an 11-5 mark. The Phoenix advanced to the NCAA Tournament after claiming the Horizon League Tournament title. The Hawkeyes hold a 10-0 all-time series lead over Green Bay.
Iowa returns seven starters from a year ago in sophomores Alyssa Navarro and Kaitlyn Mullarkey, juniors Erin Erickson, Whiteny Repole and Holly Hoffman, and senior Megan Blank. Sophomore Shayla Starkenburg started 15 games in the circle for the Hawkeyes in 2014.
MEET THE HAWKEYES
The 2015 roster is comprised of one senior — Megan Blank, five juniors — Erin Erickson, Haley Hansel, Holly Hoffman, Jillian Navarrete, Whitney Repole, six sophomores — Claire Fritsch, Sammi Gyerman, Kara Misel, Kaitlyn Mullarkey, Alyssa Navarro, and Shayla Starkenburg, and seven freshmen — Daniela Chambers, Daniella Ibarra, Sarah Kurtz, Cheyenne Pratt, Angela Schmiederer, Allie Wood, and Ashley Yoways. Iowa is led by fifth-year head coach Marla Looper, assistants Adrianna Baggetta and Adam Arbour, and volunteer assistant coach Chelsey Carmody.
MEET THE CAPTIANS
Sophomore walk-ons Kaitlyn Mullarkey and Kara Misel were voted 2015 captains by their teammates. Mullarkey stepped in last season when injuries created a spot in the field. She logged time in the outfield before joining the infield for the majority of the Big Ten season as Iowa’s first baseman. Misel appeared primarily as a pinch runner in 2014.
BLANK NAMED PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN
Senior shortstop Megan Blank was named a Preseason First Team All-Big Ten infielder by College Sports Madness on Feb. 4. Blank, a three-time regular season First Team All-Big Ten honoree, led the Hawkeyes in batting average (.361), slugging percentage (.602), on-base percentage (.452), hits (48), doubles (11), triples (3) and RBIs (25) in 2014.
SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE
The Hawkeyes compete in six non-conference tournaments before opening Big Ten play. Iowa opens conference action on March 20 when it hosts Maryland at Pearl Field in Iowa City, Iowa.
HAWKEYE COACHING DEBUT
Adam Arbour joined the University of Iowa softball program as an assistant coach on July 30, 2014. Arbour spent the last three years as a volunteer assistant coach at Alabama under head coach Patrick Murphy. He helped the Crimson Tide to an NCAA National Championship in 2012 and a Women’s College World Series Runner-Up finish in 2014. Prior to Alabama, Arbour served as a student manager at Michigan under head coach Carol Hutchins from 2008-11. While at Michigan, the Wolverines won three-straight Big Ten Championships (2009, 2010, 2011) and advanced to the Women’s College World Series in 2009.
HAWKEYES IN 2014
The Hawkeyes posted a 16-30-1 overall record in 2014. Iowa finished eighth in the Big Ten with a 9-14 record.
2014 CONFERENCE RECAP
UI softball posted a 9-14 record in Big Ten play to finish eighth. The Hawkeyes began their conference slate with consecutive series wins over Illinois and Wisconsin. Iowa topped the Illini in games one and two (4-3 after nine innings and 10-7) before falling in the finale 4-3 after eight innings. The squad recorded game one and three wins over the Badgers by a score of 4-1, but dropped game two, 8-4. Iowa also won the series at Indiana, defeating the Hoosiers 1-0 in game one and 3-2 in game three. Indiana avoided the sweep with a 9-1, five inning win in the second contest of the series. The Hawkeyes also posted a win over No. 23 Northwestern (4-3), Michigan State (5-1) and Ohio State (3-2).
TAKING ON THE BEST
Nine of Iowa’s 30 losses in 2014 came at the hands of ranked foes: No. 14/18 Missouri on Feb. 14 (2-1 in eight innings), No. 14/16 Baylor on Feb. 15 (2-0), No. 23/RV Northwestern on April 5 (6-4 and 4-1), No. 14 Minnesota on April 8 (2-0 and 7-0) and No. 19/22 Nebraska on April 11-12 (5-2, 9-1 in six innings and 18-0 in five innings). UI recorded its first win over a ranked opponent on April 6 against No. 23/RV Northwestern, 4-3, in walk off fashion, and added a pair of wins over No. 13/15-ranked Missouri, 3-1 and 13-9, on April 16. Each of Iowa’s wins over ranked opponents came at Pearl Field in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes have also been defeated by teams receiving votes in at least one of the national polls on six occasions this year: Lipscomb on Feb. 14 (10-0 in five innings), UAB on Feb. 15 (6-1 in nine innings), and Mississippi State on Feb. 21 (2-0), Feb. 22 (5-0), and Feb. 23 (9-1 in five innings).
3 IN A ROW
Senior Megan Blank received her third-straight First Team All-Big Ten accolade and was also named to the conference’s All-Defensive Team, following the 2014 season. The shortstop is the eighth Iowa player to earn first team distinction three times. Blank led the Hawkeyes in batting average (.361), slugging percentage (.602), on-base percentage (.452), hits (48), doubles (11), triples (3) and RBIs (25) last season. In Big Ten action, Blank hit at a .415 clip, slugged .677 and compiled an on-base percentage of .506. Seven of her 11 doubles, two of her three triples, two of her five home runs and 15 of her 25 RBIs came against conference foes. Heading into her senior season, Blank ranks in several career categories at Iowa. She is second with a .398 batting average, sixth with 43 doubles, eighth with 18 home runs, ninth with 113 RBIs and 10th with 10 triples with one season remaining with the Hawkeyes. Blank led the team with 13 multiple-hit games and six multiple-RBI games, had the longest reached base streak (14) and owned the longest hitting streak (9). She ended the season with a seven-game reached base streak.
NFCA HONORS BLANK FOR 3RD-STRAIGHT YEAR
Shortstop Megan Blank collected her third-straight NFCA honor as she was a second team All-Midwest Region pick in 2014. The senior was named to the NFCA All-Midwest Region second team as a freshman and first team as a sophomore. She is the 16th player in Iowa history to earn three regional awards in her career.
Senior Megan Blank ranks second in career batting average (.398), sixth in doubles (43), eighth in home runs (18), ninth in RBIs (113) and 10th in triples (10).
WELCOME TO THE 100 CLUB
Fourth-year head coach Marla Looper collected her 100th career win, 3-2, in the 2014 regular season finale at Pearl Field against Ohio State. Iowa recorded 27 wins in 2011, 27 wins in 2012 and added 30 wins in 2013. The team’s 30 wins last season was the highest win total since 2009 when the Hawkeyes posted a 42-19 mark. UI softball added 16 wins — nine in conference action and three over ranked foes — in 2014 bringing Looper’s career record to 100-104-1 (.490) as the Iowa skipper.
The Hawkeyes have benefited from two new facilities in 2015 — the indoor Iowa Turf Facility, located at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex, and the Jacobson Hitting Facility, located in football’s former weight room. The HTRC Iowa Turf Facility has enabled the program to have consistency in team practices, while the Jacobson hitting cages have allowed student-athletes to take extra reps at any time.
GAME DAY ATMOSPHERE ADDITION
Hawkeye softball added a video scoreboard to their game day atmosphere in 2014. The board, which is approximately 16-feet tall and 28-feet wide, was a repurposed video wall from football’s Kinnick Stadium. A border of Iowa softball accolades surrounds the video scoreboard and completes the new look. The video scoreboard made its debut at the 2014 home opener against Drake on April 2, 2014. Since then, it has been used to show in-game highlights, introductory videos, graphics, advertisements and additional content.
Iowa has made four Women’s College World Series appearances (1995, 1996, 1997, 2001) and played in 16 NCAA Tournaments in school history. The 16 appearances are the second most in Big Ten history, and the four WCWS appearances equal the second most in conference history. The Hawkeyes have won four Big Ten Conference regular season championships (1989, 1997, 2000, 2003) and two Big Ten Tournament titles (2001, 2003).