March 22, 2023

Dawson County Journal

Dawson County, Nebraska

Loper Softball Looks To Continue Improvement

Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska Kearney softball team is picked eighth in the 2023 MIAA preseason softball coaches’ poll. The poll is voted upon by the league’s 14 head coaches and they cannot vote for their own team.

This is the highest preseason ranking the Lopers have received since joining the conference with the 2012-13 year. UNK has been picked 10th several times in its MIAA tenure.

The 2022 season saw UNK go 25-27 and reach the MIAA Tournament for the first time. The Lopers promptly went 2-2 in that event, upsetting top-seed and nationally-ranked Central Oklahoma on its own field and no-hitting Emporia State in an elimination game. Tying for seventh place in the standings, UNK’s 25 wins were the most in a decade.

Top returners for head coach Katie Ackermann include sophomore pitcher/infielder Sydney Thomason (.337, 6 HR’s, 41 RBI’s; two wins & a save), Blair senior catcher Katie Gosker (.289, 13 HR’s, 35 RBI’s), Omaha junior outfielder Abbie Jo Gaube (.286, 10 doubles, 22 RBI’s), Colorado junior lefty Madison Rosenthal (seven wins, 33 appearances) and Colorado junior right hander Stacy Bott (seven wins, 31 appearances).

Defending National Champion Rogers State is picked fist (161 points; seven first place votes) with Washburn a close second (158 points; five first place) and UCO third (151 points; two first place). UNK is 15 points behind Northeastern State for seventh and 17 points ahead of ninth-place Pittsburg State.

The Lopers start the “spring” on Friday, Feb. 3, at the annual Lubbock Sports College Classic. UNK faces Colorado-Colorado Springs and Eastern New Mexico that day with the home opener at Patriot Park slated for Friday, March 10, vs. Missouri Western.

Source: Regional Sports