Softball: What To Watch For: Northwestern softball aims to continue eight-game winning streak in Iowa this weekend


Daily file photo by Seeger Gray

No. 20 Northwestern takes on the Iowa Hawkeyes in a three-game series this weekend hoping to capitalize on momentum gained from Tuesday’s 20-1 win against DePaul.

Kunjal Bastola, Reporter

Fresh off a dominant win against DePaul (9-17, 1-5 Big East) Tuesday, No. 20 Northwestern (18-8, 3-0 Big Ten) will take on Iowa (21-13, 3-2 Big Ten) this weekend in its second conference matchup of the season. The three-game series runs April 1 and April 2, taking place in Iowa City, Iowa.

The Cats hope to keep their eight-game winning streak alive after three wins against the Hawkeyes this weekend. With just conference matchups left on NU’s regular season slate — including Illinois, Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan in the coming weeks — the Iowa series is one of many matchups to come.

Here are three keys to look for as the Cats travel to Iowa this weekend.

1. Can graduate student pitcher Danielle Williams continue her impressive streak this weekend?

Williams was the first unanimous Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, and it’s clear why given recent events.

The southpaw was a force to be reckoned with against DePaul on Tuesday, striking out 10 of 16 batters over 4.1 innings. She gave up only one run on one hit and retired the first 12 batters she faced.

A vital part of the Cats’ rotation, if Williams continues to play at this level, the Cats may not only sweep this weekend’s series and extend their winning streak, but could also be on the road to another stellar Women’s College World Series run.

2. Senior utility Angela Zedak’s rise this season will be pivotal in this weekend’s outcome.

Zedak leads the team in home runs this season, with five so far, partly due to her spectacular performance against DePaul when she hit two long-balls and drove in a career-high seven runs.

Zedak has been a key player in NU’s offense this whole season, especially recently. She scored two runs against Minnesota, doubled twice against UIC, and scored two runs and an RBI against Louisville — three of the four teams were the Cats’ last three opponents. Zedak will be a determining factor as NU’s offense looks to secure three wins this weekend.

3. NU’s offense is stacked. Who are some key players to watch this weekend?

Aside from Zedak, the Cats’ boast a wide range of offensive players that led them to their current win streak. These players are ones to watch, not only this weekend, but throughout the rest of this season.

Graduate student catcher Jordyn Rudd has been nothing short of a phenom this season. The team’s leader in RBIs, doubles and total bases, Rudd continues to prove just how much of an asset she is.

Graduate student center fielder Skyler Shellmyer leads the team in hits, partly due to a 3-for-3 showing against Minnesota on Sunday. With 12 runs scored so far this season, Shellmyer is a player capable of bringing NU closer to the top of the Big Ten standings this weekend.

Graduate student infielder Maeve Nelson adds to NU’s stack of talented offensive players. Having started every game this season, Nelson has been vital both offensively and defensively in helping secure all of NU’s wins this season, and will continue to be as the Cats’ strive toward another World Series run.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @kunjal_bastola

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