Valparaiso (0-0, 0-0 MVC)
Feb. 9-11 - at DePaul Dome Tournament (Rosemont, Ill.)
Feb. 9 - at DePaul (0-0) - 3:30 p.m. | vs. Saint Louis (0-0) - 6 p.m.
Feb. 10 - vs. Western Illinois (0-0) - 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 11 - vs. Bowling Green (0-0) - noon | vs. Eastern Kentucky (0-0) - 2:30 p.m.
Next Up in Valpo Softball: The Valpo softball team opens up the 2023 campaign this weekend at the DePaul Dome Tournament in Rosemont, Ill. The Beacons will open the season against the host Blue Demons on Thursday afternoon and follow with games against Saint Louis, Western Illinois, Bowling Green and Eastern Kentucky over a three-day stretch.
Looking Ahead: The Beacons will take a weekend away from competition before returning to action Feb. 24-26 with five games at The Spring Games in Madeira Beach, Fla.
Following Valpo Softball: No video streams will be available this weekend. Four of the five games (with the exception of the Western Illinois game) will have live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Meaggan Pettipiece: Meaggan Pettipiece was hired in September 2022 as head coach of the Valpo softball program. Pettipiece brings over a decade of experience as a collegiate head coach, most recently the last three seasons at the Division I level at Akron. Prior to her time at Akron, Pettipiece spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Kent State and was head coach at Northwood for 10 years. Pettipiece, who owns 250 career coaching victories, was an All-American on the diamond and helped California University of Pennsylvania to a D-II national title in 1998 collegiately before playing internationally for Team Canada, including at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Series Notes: DePaul - Valpo is just 1-45-1 all-time against the Blue Demons and fell to DePaul last season in the season opener at The Dome, 8-0. The two programs previously shared conference affiliation in the North Star Conference and the Mid-Continent Conference.
Saint Louis - Valpo owns a 5-3 edge in the all-time series over the Billikens, but only one of those matchups has come since 1997 - a 3-2 SLU win in nine innings at The Spring Games on March 6, 2020.
Western Illinois - Former Mid-Continent Conference rivals, WIU and Valpo have met 67 times on the diamond, making the Leathernecks the third-most common opponent in Valpo history. WIU leads the series 56-11, but the Beacons have won the last five in the series, including 2-1 and 10-1 victories in neutral-site matchups at Indiana last season.
Bowling Green - BGSU holds a narrow 5-4 edge in the series over Valpo and won the last meeting between the two programs - a 6-1 decision on March 5, 2021 at Marshall.
Eastern Kentucky - Valpo is just 1-4 in program history against EKU and fell to the Colonels last season, 4-1, on March 11 at Kentucky.
What’s Back: Valpo returns 10 of 18 letterwinners from last season’s squad for the 2023 campaign. In all, 40.4% of Valpo’s plate appearances are back for this season and 63.6% of last season’s inning pitched return as well.
Who’s New: This year's 16-player roster includes six newcomers donning the Brown and Gold for the first time. A quintet of freshmen - Kaia Garnica, Kimberli Rodas, Lexi Szostak, Lyna Vasquez and Cadence Augustine - are joined by Kent State transfer Autumn Acord looking for their first action at Valpo this weekend.
Playing Under the Dome: The Dome is getting to be a familiar sight for Valpo softball in early February. This marks the third consecutive season that the Beacons have opened the campaign in Rosemont at the DePaul Dome Tournament. Notably, Valpo has opened the weekend against the host Blue Demons all three years.
Hitting the Road: This weekend’s games start a long and winding road for the Beacons before they finally get the chance to play at the Valpo Softball Complex. This is the first of four weekends of action prior to the start of conference play, as Valpo will also play at The Spring Games (Madeira Beach, Fla.), Bellarmine and Eastern Kentucky in preconference action. The Beacons have a mid-week game at Illinois leading into their conference-opening weekend at Southern Illinois before finally opening the home slate at the Valpo Softball Complex March 24 versus Illinois State. All told, Valpo is slated to play its first 22 games of the season away from home.
Big Bat Back: Senior catcher Lauren Kehlenbrink enjoyed a stellar conference campaign last year and is looking to carry that over into the 2023 season. In MVC play in 2022, Kehlenbrink hit .314 with 10 runs scored and 20 RBIs - tied for ninth among conference players. She posted a .368 on-base percentage and slugged at a .614 clip, as 13 of her 22 hits were of the extra-base variety - nine doubles (tied for second in the Valley) and four home runs.
Hersch Keeps On Running: Fifth-year infielder Taylor Herschbach brings an impressive streak into the 2023 season, as she was not caught stealing once during the 2022 campaign. Herschbach was a perfect 13-for-13 on the basepaths last year, tying a program single-season record for most steals without being caught. In fact, Herschbach has not been caught stealing since March 7, 2020. Herschbach hit .270 a season ago and ranked second on the team in both stolen bases and runs scored (21).