Softball drops 3-0 decision to Illinois State, eliminated from NCAA Tourney
Published: Friday, May 25, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
Lynsey Ciezki wanted to “get out of Missouri.” That was really her main goal after her fourth consecutive season going to Mizzou for the NCAA Tournament.
Unfortunately, one bad pitch and a lack of offense played too big of a role in sending the DePaul softball team home from the tournament, ending their season.
“It’s bittersweet,” Ciezki said. “Still trying to figure out the reason [for the losses], but it’s tough.”
The Blue Demons started out the Columbia regional with a 3-0 win over UMass May 18 that saw DePaul struggle against the Minutewomen ace pitcher Sara Plourde up until the sixth inning. That’s when the Blue Demons accounted for the three runs that won them the game. Pitcher Kirsten Verdun was her usual self on the mound in that game, giving up only two hits and striking out six.
The following day proved to be a rougher outing for the Blue Demons. Against Missouri, it was a pitcher’s duel between Verdun and Mizzou’s Chelsea Thomas. The game went into extra innings before the leadoff Tiger batter sent a Verdun changeup over the fence for a walk-off home run. Against Illinois State, DePaul just seemed flat and couldn’t string together much offense.
“The Missouri game doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the ISU game does as far as my pitching performance,” Verdun said, having only allowed four runs in the three games DePaul was at the regional. “I think that when your offense doesn’t score it puts pressure on the pitcher, but that’s something you have to be prepared for as a pitcher.”
This is especially tough for Ciezki because her college career ended the same way her first three years at DePaul ended: with a loss at Mizzou. Despite that, she still was positive when reflecting back on the season.
“Our teamwork,” Ciezki responded when asked what she would remember most about this season. “We had a lot of ups and downs but we always stayed together. Our camaraderie was awesome and I’m going to miss my teammates the most. They say ‘You’ll never remember the hits, the runs, the scores but you’ll never forget your teammates.’ That’s going to be the hardest thing for me.
Head Coach Eugene Lenti echoed the sentiments of Ciezki and Verdun, saying that he was especially proud of how this team fought through the adversity of so many injuries, the worst being Megan Coronado’s knee and Marla Matthews’ back injuries.
“Anytime you’re minus key players that can contribute, it’s going to have an effect,” Lenti said. “It’s not like there’s a minor league system here we can call up people to replace them.”
Despite the injuries and loss of the seniors (Matthews, Ciezki and Katelyn Braget), the expectations are just as high for next year, maybe even higher.
The senior class for next season includes the 2010 Big East Rookie of the Year Bree Brown, outfielder Samantha Dodd and utility player Ali Warren. Verdun, although not a senior, will still load a heavy set of expectations as well because of the success she’s attained her first two seasons. Ciezki let her know that, too.
“It goes by really fast,” Ciezki told the upcoming senior class that “it [their final year] goes by really fast.”
“I pulled Kirsten to the side and told her, ‘You’re one of the best players I’ve ever played with, you need to step up and run this team.’ Doddie and AlI and Bree, they’re going to be awesome seniors next year.”
Lenti says that he expects each senior class to leave an impact on the program, and it’ll be no different next season.
As for Ciezki, who will go into student teaching in the fall, as well as coaching softball in the spring and hopefully getting her shoulder surgically repaired, what does she want for the team next year?
“That they can keep it going,” she said. “And hopefully get out of Missouri.”