LANSING | Before his team took the field Wednesday in Lansing to host defending Class 3A state champion Glenbard South, Illiana Christian coach Mike Oppenhuis was grinning ear to ear.
"I love games like this," he said. "This is a great challenge."
Afterward, Tatum Oppenhuis, the coach's niece and catcher, reflected a different mood.
"I'm not happy," she said. "We just got killed."
Killed? Not technically. Despite a 10-0, five-inning loss, the Vikings (2-3, 2-3 in the Metro Suburban) live to fight another day — which in this case means Thursday, in Glen Ellyn, for a weather-forced home-and-home with the Raiders (12-1, 5-0).
"I'm looking forward to it," Tatum said, "so we can try to get a few runs across."
They'll probably want to start with a hit. The Vikings were no-hit by Jane Trzaska (7-1), who hit one batter but was otherwise perfect, striking out eight.
Trzaska overwhelmed the Vikings with her fastball early, fanning six of the first eight batters she faced, then kept them off-balance the rest of the way.
"She's a catcher, too, so she's really savvy about how to approach hitters," Raiders coach Julie Fonda said. "She was hitting her spots today, and her changeup was working."
The results were a bit more uneven for Illiana starter Brooke Van Der Aa. Though Glenbard only hit the ball hard three times through the first three innings, the Raiders found enough holes for eight hits and led 5-0.
In the fourth, they teed off on Van Der Aa, with a triple and two doubles among their five hits in a five-run frame.
Van Der Aa, a freshman left-hander, dipped to 1-3 on the season. She said she wanted the ball again Thursday.
"I wasn't my best, but then again, they're a pretty good team," she said. "Once I start hitting the good spot — where Tatum doesn't have to move her mitt, and it's popping — I don't think they can hit me."
Certainly, Fonda liked what she saw from Illiana's young battery.
"I said to my assistant, 'This is definitely a much-improved Illiana team," she said. "Mike does a great job. You always know you're going to face a well-coached team.
"And the pitcher/catcher, freshman/sophomore, that's a great combo to build around."
Tatum Oppenhuis impressed Fonda with her arm strength, particularly while snapping throws to second from her knees. Oppenhuis countered that Van Der Aa's velocity has gotten her attention.
"I've been catching her for a while now, in travel ball," Tatum said. "She's always been accurate, but this year I definitely see improvement in her speed."