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Article updated: 5/3/2013 8:24 PM

Loyola slugger Andresen ready for a new chapter

By Patricia Babcock

It's almost time to relax, and Brooke Andresen wants to finally curl up with a good book. She's been so busy over the last four years that it's been difficult to keep up with all the best-sellers.

"It's been a while since I read a really good book for fun," Andresen said with a laugh.

Instead, the Downers Grove South graduate has been poring over textbooks, and filling page after page of the Loyola-Chicago softball record book.

Andresen is one of the lead characters in that one. Her name is on page after page as one of the best players in school history, and she'll still adding to her legend.

Also one of the top students in her class with a 3.79 grade-point average in secondary education, Andresen will be closing the book on her illustrious college career in the coming weeks. She will graduate with her degree and play in some of her final games as Loyola competes in the Horizon League tournament and attempts to earn the program's first NCAA berth.

The Ramblers are currently tied for first place in the conference with UIC. One of the two schools will host the upcoming Horizon League tournament, depending on what happens in conference play this weekend.

"We have a lot of confidence," said Andresen, an outfielder. "We've put ourselves in a good position.

"When I first came to Loyola, we weren't even making the conference tournament. Then we started making it and now we're not only going to make it, we're in a really good position to win it."

Andresen has been a one-woman offensive juggernaut for the Ramblers. She owns the career record for hits as the only player in school history with than 200. She also ranks first in runs scored and among the top five in career batting average at .341. She hasn't hit below .325 in her career, even as a freshman.

"But I did go 0-for-6 in my first at-bats my freshman year," she laughed. "It's hard for any freshman coming in. But I came from a good high school team (two trips downstate) and a good travel team so I knew I was capable of performing better. I never let that rough start get me down.

"I think that's been the key for me all these years. I am comfortable with failure. I don't like it, but I know it's part of this game. Failure happens in softball and it's about finding the will to keep going and doing whatever it takes to keep yourself mentally in it."

Andresen will be leaving "it" with mixed emotions.

She's known almost nothing but softball since she was a child, and she adores the game. She pictures herself playing in adult slowpitch leagues well into middle age.

But she is ready for that break, ready for a novel to curl up with, and for the next chapter of her own adventure, which she says will include not only teaching (English) but also coaching softball.

"So many people have asked me if I'm going to try to play in the pro league," Andresen said. "I'm not sure yet. I think I'll know if I'm ready to be totally done as a player when our season ends.

"I am passionate about softball, but I'm also excited about putting that passion into another part of my life. I'm really excited to coach softball next."

Stay tuned. Andresen's sequel will be out soon.

Purple power 1:

It's been another great spring for the women's sports teams at Northwestern, starting, of course, with the powerhouse lacrosse team. The two-time defending national champions and winners of seven of the last eight national titles are gearing up for another big postseason run.

At 15-2, Northwestern is ranked fourth in the country and is playing in its conference tournament this weekend. The national championship will be at Villanova May 24 and May 26.

Purple power 2:

The Northwestern softball team (30-19) is getting ready for the Big Ten Tournament next weekend in Lincoln, Neb. The Wildcats are the defending champions, but the tournament hasn't been played since 2008 due to scheduling changes and other issues. Update: No. 10 Michigan beat NU 2-1 Friday night in the first of a three-game series atAlumni Field. The Wolverines are now 42-9 and 18-2 in the conference.

Purple power 3:

For the first time in school history, the NU golf team won the Big Ten title. The Wildcats shared the honor with Purdue last week at the Big Ten tournament in French Lick, Ind. Northwestern head coach Emily Fletcher was named the Big Ten coach of the year and Kaitlin Park earned freshman of the year honors. A tape-delayed broadcast of the Big Ten tournament can be seen on the Big Ten Network on Wednesday.

Purple power 4:

The NU tennis team qualified a singles player (Kate Turvy) and a doubles team (Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton) to the NCAA championships, which will be held May 22-27 in Champaign. In the meantime, the Wildcats will host opening-round action for NCAA team competitions (May 10-11) at the Combe Tennis Center in Evanston.

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