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July 15, 2005

USI coaching staff returns from Europe with title

EVANSVILLE, Ind.—The University of Southern Indiana softball coaching staff returned from Holland this week with a title in hand. Head Coach Sue Kunkle and Assistant Coach Annie Medico directed a team from USA Athletes International to a perfect 8-0 record and in Holland’s Robur ’58 Softball Tournament July 6-10.

USA Athletes International is a non-profit organization dedicated to giving amateur athletes and coaches the opportunity to participate in International Olympic style sporting events throughout the world, while also allowing them to broaden their educational and cultural knowledge of the world through the experience.

Kunkle and Medico guided a team that included former USI standout Sunny Oelling (Valparaiso, Indiana). Oelling had an outstanding tournament, batting .350 with a triple, three RBIs, and seven runs scored.

“I was a little eager and anxious about coaching kids that I have never met,” Kunkle said. “I met them for the first time at J.F.K. Airport.”

It did not take long for Kunkle and Medico to get adjusted to the new athletes. “The kids were very receptive to our coaching staff,” Kunkle explained. “They went there to win.”

Despite having just one practice, Kunkle and Medico had little trouble getting the players to look and act like a team that had been together for a long time. “We had to organize quickly to see what type of talent that we had, but when we put a line-up together, the girls took the field and looked like they had been playing together for years.”

The opening day featured pool play and an opening ceremony in which all the teams lined up throughout the infield for each squad’s National Anthem. USA Athletes International started pool play off with a 2-0 victory over another squad from the United States, Coast-to-Coast. The tournament featured two teams from the Netherlands, including the host Robbers Robur ’58, as well as four teams from the United States.

Kunkle’s squad was 5-0 in pool play, outscoring the opposition 15-2. After two tournament wins, USA Athletes International defeated the Birds, another team from the Netherlands, 8-1 in the gold medal game to take home the championship.

“The girls got the full experience of being in another country.” Kunkle said. “They had the opportunity to see the sights while competing at a high level.

“The main thing we wanted to do was make sure everyone got the chance to be a contributor in every game and they did,” Kunkle concluded.

Kunkle and Medico directed USI’s softball team to a 30-20 record in 2005 and a third-place finish in the GLVC Tournament. Kunkle is entering her fifth year at the helm of the Screaming Eagles, while Medico is entering her third season at USI.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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