Softball: Drohans collect 600th career win in victory over Notre Dame


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Morgan Nelson takes a swing. The senior finished with two hits and two RBIs in her team’s 3-1 win over Notre Dame.

Sophia Scanlan, Reporter


Eighteen seasons, 10 NCAA Tournament appearances and two Big Ten championships later, twin sisters Kate and Caryl Drohan have logged their 600th career win as a coaching duo at Northwestern.

The landmark win came in a 3-1 victory for the Wildcats (30-7, 9-0 Big Ten) over Notre Dame (24-13, 7-5 ACC) at home Tuesday.

“Milestones you reflect on later,” Kate Drohan said. “But (this achievement) just means I love coaching at Northwestern, and I’m honored to have the staff that I’ve had and the young women who’ve come through our program.”

In 2002, Kate took the helm at NU after serving as assistant coach under Sharon Drysdale for four years. Since then — when Kate also brought along Caryl as her assistant — the two have earned a record of 600-352-1.

Tuesday’s triumph marked the Cats’ eighth-straight win. NU has also now won 13 of the past 14 games, keeping it in the race for a spot in the NCAA Tournament later this spring.

After a quiet first inning, the Cats broke open the game in the bottom of the second with a double from senior Lily Novak and a missed tag that turned into a single for freshman Skyler Shellmyer. Sophomore Rachel Lewis loaded the bases on a fielder’s choice.

Senior Morgan Nelson then hit a grounder to right, bringing in the first two runs of the game. After going 1-for-9 over the weekend against Nebraska, Nelson said she was glad to turn it around.

“That’s kind of just how it goes, up and down,” she said. “I’m just trying to be more consistent with my mental approach. We all have the physical ability to do well, but it’s our mental game that needs work.”

Two innings later in the fourth, sophomore pitcher Kenna Wilkey allowed a pair of singles and a run, before eventually loading the bases. She escaped the jam with a flyout from the Fighting Irish’s Ali Wester.

Despite the tricky moment, she said she felt confident because of her teammates.

“The zone was a little tough, but I trusted myself, and I trusted my defense — they had my back,” Wilkey said. “Even if I get in these tough situations, I know they’re going to be there, and I know they’re going to be making those plays.”

Wilkey exited the game after the fourth, having allowed just two hits and one run, though she did walk four and hit two batters.

Freshman Danielle Williams replaced her in the circle, a strategy the coaches had planned before the game.

“We came into the day wanting to use both pitchers, and I thought both of them pitched really tough out there today and got some big outs when we needed them,” Kate Drohan said.
“It was good to get them both in there.”

After the end of the game, the players poured the ice bucket on Kate in celebration.

Despite the festivities, Kate turned the attention back to her players and the games ahead, exactly one month out from the Big Ten Tournament.

“At this point in the season, it was a big win for us because we beat Notre Dame today,” Kate Drohan said.

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