Feb. 20, 2001
NKU SEEKS GLVC TITLE IN 2001
Improved Norse set sights on GLVC crown
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The final results of last seasons Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament point out the Northern Kentucky University softball team finished fourth in the event.
But, as third-year head coach Kathy Bown will tell you, NKU gained much more than fourth place with last seasons performance at the GLVC Tournament.
I think our play in last years GLVC tournament was a major hurdle for the team. They finally proved to themselves that they are good and can compete with anyone, Bown said, noting that her Norse knocked off both Southern Indiana and Southern Illinois at Edwardsville - two traditional powers in the conference - during the GLVC Tournament.
I think this attitude carried over to the fall, and our record was 11-5-1 and we won the Indiana State tournament. I have had many compliments from other coaches about our team, which I have passed on to the players, so again, I think they are finally believing in their abilities.
NKU finished with a 25-24 record last season, and the Norse return six starters from that team. NKU entered the GLVC Tournament with a 7-10 regular-season mark in the conference, and Bown would like to see her team enter as a higher seed this season.
If we stay healthy, I believe we can win the GLVC tournament. Actually, before we do that, I want to be well above .500 in the conference, as well as overall, She said. In my first two years, we have been 6-10 and 7-10 respectively in the conference prior to the tournament, and we want to improve on that this season.
NKU will feature two of the GLVCs top pitchers in seniors Kim Bina and Jamie Moore. Bina was 7-11 with a 1.54 earned run average last season, and she led the team with 83 strikeouts in 127 innings pitched. Moore was 10-6 with a 2.14 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 108 innings pitched.
Kim Bina and Jamie Moore have really stepped up and shown a lot of leadership, Bown said. They both had good fall seasons (Bina a 1.08 ERA, and Moore a 1.04 ERA) and are determined to improve on that this spring. Our goal is under a 1.00 ERA.
Junior Katie Garling and freshman Lauren MacDonald also will see action on the mound for the Norse.
NKUs offensive attack will feature senior third baseman Kerry McKee, who hit a Norse single-season record six home runs last year. McKee batted .253 with nine doubles and 24 runs batted in.
I think that Kerry McKee will have an outstanding year, Bown said. She is an excellent defensive third baseman, but she hasnt had the stats at the plate that are representative of what she does offensively. She is probably the hardest hitter on the team, but she cant seem to catch a break at times.
Senior outfielder/infielder Joanna Doerner led NKU in hitting last season with a .321 batting average. Doerner had 11 doubles and 15 RBI.
Joanna Doerner is our most versatile player who gets the job done wherever she plays, Bown said. She is a very solid player both offensively and defensively.
Junior first baseman Krista Eldridge led the team with 27 RBI last season, and she batted .276 with four home runs. Eldridge also scored a team-leading 33 runs.
Krista Eldridge is an outstanding hitter who has improved defensively, Bown said. I expect her to step up and make some big plays for us this season.
Other starters for NKU this season figure to be sophomore shortstop Crystal Wilson, sophomore second baseman Amanda Davidson, sophomore catcher Kristin Koors and sophomore designated hitter Molly Fachman. Two freshmen - Camie Deaver and Jessica Dougherty - will start in the outfield for the Norse.
I think that Crystal Wilson and Amanda Davidson will have good years, Bown said. They both have a year under there belts, do whatever they have to do, and love to compete.
NKU will open its 2001 season Feb. 24 at the University of Southern Indiana Tournament at Evansville, Ind.