Softball: Northwestern hoping for an even stronger 2022 season


Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Rachel Lewis looks to throw out a runner. Lewis hit a program-record 58th career home run Friday against Purdue.

Aayushya Agarwal, Reporter

Coming off of an impressive 30-17 record in 2021, Northwestern hopes to go even further in 2022. 

The Wildcats, who competed in a heavy Big Ten schedule last season due to the pandemic, have already had the opportunity to compete against top programs across the country, including No. 3 UCLA and No. 7 Oklahoma State, this season. 

Coach Kate Drohan said she looks forward to a more diverse schedule. 

“There’s real energy and excitement for going out and playing schools from other conferences,” Drohan said. “This is how we typically schedule, with a challenging slate, so I think it will serve our team very well.” 

The Cats will spend the next few weekends participating in tournaments across the country, and they remain focused on implementing Drohan’s expectations of them. 

Drohan set out a simple message to her team: work hard every day. 

“That is as simple as we are being,” Drohan said. ”We are so focused on the process, the results will take care of themselves. We are really committed to working hard and seeing how much better we could get each weekend we play,” 

As for making any changes from last season, Drohan said she remains fairly fixed in terms of strategy. Nevertheless, she intends to switch certain players’ defensive positions to maximize the team’s results. 

2021 unanimous first-team All-Big Ten Rachel Lewis will move from the infield to the outfield this season to fill a gap there. This shift will allow Drohan to pick from the many talented infield choices available to replace Lewis. 

“The outfield is a new position for (Lewis),” Drohan said. “She has played second-base for four years so that will impact some of the defensive shifts that we have.” 

NU students can cheer on the team for the first time in more than two years when the ‘Cats host Loyola on March 22, followed by a three-game set versus Michigan State starting on March 25. 

As much excitement as there is surrounding the team, internally the team is fired up for the fast-approaching season. Drohan said she cannot wait for the players to have the chance to compete alongside one another. 

“Our training started all the way back on Sept. 15. We are ready to put this team together,”’ Drohan said. “We’ve got a lot of really competitive women on our team that we are really excited about taking the field with.”

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