Irish look ahead to final series of regular season, Senior Weekend rivalry against BC
Emily DeFazio | Friday, May 7, 2021
The Notre Dame softball team will face their final opponent of the regular season this weekend as they take on the Boston College Eagles at Melissa Cook Stadium. This final series at home will be the team’s launchpad for their postseason prospects.
Last fall, the team was questioning whether they would even get a chance to play in the spring or lose yet another season to the pandemic. Despite games being cancelled for COVID-related reasons, the team was ultimately able to complete most of their schedule.
For head coach Deanna Gumpf, time has certainly flown by amidst the uncertainty. In fact, the precariousness of the situation has made the team’s accomplishments all the more rewarding.
“I love the way we’re playing softball right now,” Gumpf said. “I feel like we’re peaking at the right time, and I love the way that the girls have handled this spring. It has been a very challenging time. But the way that our team has managed things, I couldn’t be more proud.”
This pride extends to both the offensive and defensive play that the team performed. Specifically, the group of pitchers has been a staple for the team, with senior Alexis Holloway, junior Payton Tidd and senior Morgan Ryan all getting their time in the circle. Their cooperative efforts have been a force to be reckoned with on the field; all three of them combined for a no-hitter earlier this season in their home opener against Valparaiso. Their abilities will definitely be important come postseason matches.
“I love that we’re getting good performances from all three of them at the same time,” Gumpf noted.
The pitchers also got some help defensively, as Gumpf said that consistent big plays help take the pressure off of whoever is in the circle. Graduate student infielder Chelsea Purcell has been instrumental in this arena. She has made several midair catches this season, diving for the ball to secure out after out for her teammates.
After watching the defense progress all season, Gumpf said that this “dominating force” is what she is most proud of.
This weekend’s opponent is a large rival for the Irish. Gumpf said that the Eagles will be a good adversary to end the season with as they will be at the top of their game, even if their record may suggest otherwise.
“I guarantee that Boston will play their very best softball,” Gumpf said. “Although Boston, on paper, hasn’t had the best season, they will play great softball this weekend. That’s what I’m sure of. So I think that they’re really good opponents prior to heading into postseason and the ACC Tournament.”
With regards to the tournament, Gumpf said that they can only take it day by day, not getting too far ahead of themselves.
“Once we take care of this weekend — and hopefully we will compete really well — then we take care of the postseason one game at a time because that’s really what it’s about at that point,” she said.
The Senior Weekend rivalry games will be broadcast on the ACC Network. Matches will take place Friday at 5 p.m., Saturday at 1 and 3 p.m. and Sunday at noon.