Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By SYDNEY OCKER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — For the 21st time in program history, the University of Iowa softball team has qualified for the Big Ten Tournament.
The 12th-seeded Hawkeyes will face No. 5 seed Ohio State on Thursday at 7 p.m. (CT) at the Goodman Diamond in Madison, Wisconsin. The winner will meet fourth-seeded Northwestern in the quarterfinals Friday at 7 p.m.
This season’s Hawkeyes have seen great success in tournament style play, defeating No. 8 Baylor and No. 14 Arizona State during the tournament season earlier this year.
Iowa opened the 2018 Big Ten season by breaking No. 17 Michigan’s 18-game winning streak, but the team ended the regular season with a 6-16 conference mark.
Iowa softball head coach Marla Looper looks at the postseason as a new season and a fresh start for a team that struggled to find success during conference regular-season play.
“We can wipe the season away, because postseason is a new season,” Looper said. “It doesn’t matter what we have done to this point. It’s brand new, I’m excited to clean the slate and get back to work.”
Along with defeating Michigan, the Hawkeyes also swept Wisconsin for the first time since 2010. Senior Angela Schmiederer is confident that Iowa’s success throughout the season has shown the team is strong enough to make a run in the tournament.
“You hear a lot in softball and baseball that it’s anybody’s game,” said Schmiederer. “I think just knowing that we’ve been able to show up against tough teams boosts us in the right direction. We can do whatever we want to on any given day.”
Looper echoed Schmiederer when asked about the team’s preparedness.
“You face one opponent at a time. You have to be your best at the moment,” said Looper. “It’s one game at a time, but it is a little different with a new opponent each day, much like the pre-conference season, when we were able to strive. I’m eager to see us get into tournament play using that mentality.”
Ohio State is an opponent the Hawkeyes haven’t faced this season, but the team isn’t focused on that.
“We haven’t started looking at Ohio State yet,” said senior Allie Wood. “Throughout the whole season, we’ve been focused on ourselves. We don’t believe in playing by our opponent’s game plan.”
That idea follows Looper’s new season mentality. The Hawkeyes have a chance to restart conference action with a fresh opponent and a game plan that has shown success in tournament play.
The single-elimination tournament begins Thursday at 11 a.m. (CT). All games will be broadcast live on BTN and will be available live via BTN2Go to fans with a BTN subscription through their cable provider.