Softball hopes for rebound
What to know:
Two 30-plus-loss seasons in a row and losing a four-time first-team All-Big Ten selection are not a recipe for success, but it’ll be what the Hawkeyes face at this season.
Head coach Marla Looper leads the team as it tries to shake off the losses and losing shortstop Megan Blank, who led the team in nearly every hitting category.
Whom to know:
Blank is one of the best softball players to ever come through Iowa’s program. She made the All-Big Ten Team in each of her four seasons at Iowa. She is also the program’s all-time leader in doubles and has the best career batting average in Hawkeye history.
But she graduated.
And replacing Blank as the teams go-to offensive option will be junior center-fielder Sammi Gyerman. She was second in many of those offensive categories and has an excellent awareness in the box.
Outside of Gyerman, it’ll be interesting to see who can rebound from a poor year. Starting pitcher Shayla Starkenburg was good for parts of the season but also struggled to maintain control of her pitches.
Helping her will be senior catcher Holly Hoffman, who has been around for a number of pitchers and is considered a hugely important part of both the offense and defense.
As far as softball conferences go, the Big Ten is not nearly the toughest. Even with that, the Hawkeyes will still likely be near the bottom of the conference and will need a big jump from this year’s sophomore class.
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