Illinois softball works individually to rebound from Iowa sweep

The Illinois softball team is excited to get back on the field and redeem itself against the Wisconsin Badgers this weekend following a pair of losses to Iowa on Wednesday.

After losing a doubleheader to the Hawkeyes, the Illini (18-10, 3-2 Big Ten) spent the night in meetings until 2:45 a.m., causing head coach Terri Sullivan to call off practice Thursday.

However, this did not stop several of the girls from taking personal time to prepare for their upcoming game against the Badgers (12-22, 1-3).

Senior catcher Lana Armstrong intends to improve her offense after a 0-for-5 night at the plate in the games against Iowa. She has confidence that many of her teammates will take the responsibility to work on their own weaknesses separately.

“I’m sure some girls will be getting ground balls, working on weaknesses, doing small things that they can use to adapt fundamental-wise, but I don’t think that a whole team practice was necessary today,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong also recognizes the importance of establishing herself as a leader this weekend in order to improve the Illini’s confidence in the batter’s box.

“Being one of the more experienced hitters on this team, I need to improve my swing so that I can get the other girls excited by hitting,” Armstrong said.

While Sullivan said certain players are more natural leaders, she does not plan on singling out any player to help get a win against the Badgers this weekend.

“Yes, we do have leaders on this team, but everyone just needs to go up to the plate with their own plan, and that’s when we’re really at our best offensively,” Sullivan said.

The Illini plan to clean up a few errors in the field by improving their communication and strengthening some key throwing fundamentals on their own time.

“We say over and over again that a game is playing a high level of catch, which is the foundation of a good defense. Once we improve the fundamentals of catch, our defense will be back,” Sullivan said.

Freshman pitcher Monica Perry has her own game of catch to worry about. On the mound, Perry plans to focus more on the specific pitch changes she needs to make in order to be dominant against Wisconsin’s offense.

“I’m going to try to throw a lot more off speed this weekend just to mix it up a little. I think that will make it a lot easier for me to keep in control of the game,” Perry said.

Overall, the Illini have recognized their weaknesses and plan on correcting them individually in order to come out on top as a team against the Badgers.

“I think really the focus is more on us and how we need to change our approach rather than being a matter of the opponent. You can either wait or come back and make sure you’re ready to play at the first pitch,” Sullivan said.