March 6, 2015
By Victor Diaz ’15
Every team has a glue guy. They are the players who give hearts and souls to squads and bring teams together as a unit. Even if the fans may not fully realize the glue guy’s contribution, teammates and coaches know that he is one of the most important cogs in keeping a successful team going.
Notre Dame softball’s glue gal, Katey Haus, joined the Irish in 2012, and ever since her first season with the team has been the mainstay for Notre Dame at third base. The senior has withstood the hot corner’s heat for four seasons and has become a cornerstone of the Irish infield.
“She’s reliable, and you know she’s a leader,” Haus’ infield coach, Kris Ganeff, says. “I have two seniors in the infield, and she’s definitely the leader for the left side of the infield. She’s just solid and steady and a big presence for us.”
The Irish opened 2015 with a 12-6 record and have already amassed some impressive wins, including victories over then-No. 6 UCLA, No. 7 Georgia and No. 20 Missouri. Haus has been a vital part of her team’s success, leading the way with a .453 batting average, four doubles, five home runs, 15 RBI and 12 runs scored in 18 games, and was named the ACC Softball Player of the Week on Feb. 9 for the first time in her career.
But it’s not just Haus’ consistency or stellar play that makes her so essential to the Irish. She is the kind of person that puts her teammates first and does the little things to keep her squad going.
“She’s definitely one of those kids who’s easy to talk to, so if any of her teammates are ever having some sort of an issue she’s a comforting person to go to,” Ganeff says. “Specifically on the field, you can see it.”
When things go wrong during the game, Haus is always the first one there, whether she is comforting the pitcher after giving up a big run or encouraging one of her fellow infielders after an error.
“She’s always just picking people up even when she’s not particularly having a good game hitting or defensively,” Ganeff says. “You don’t see it on her. You can’t tell she’s down.”
Haus was able to step into the role of on-field leader from the get-go. She started 55 games as a freshman and racked up a number of awards that season, including 2012 BIG EAST Championship All-Tournament team honors after posting three hits and three RBI during the conference tournament.
“It was huge because at that time, the hole that was left there, that’s a tough position to play,” Ganeff says. “Third base, you’re playing from 60 feet away and technically she’s probably about 40 feet away from the batter, and they’re rocketing them at her. To have a freshman come in and take that spot, it was huge.”
After her freshman year Haus has become an iron woman at third base, starting every single game for the Irish the last 182 times Notre Dame has taken the field entering this weekend’s Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) opening series at North Carolina State.
“Honestly, since her freshman year, she’s been rock solid for us over there,” Ganeff says. “It was almost like it was no question when she came in as a freshman that she was going to play third base, and from that point forward she has been steady, she has been competitive, she has worked her butt off, and she has played through injury.”
Haus stepping in and being a big time contributor right out of the gate was not just huge for the team. It was also a big personal achievement, as Haus had sustained a serious shoulder injury during high school that sidelined her from her final two years of prep softball.
Bouncing back from the physical setback, and having a crucial decision to make with a fledgling field hockey career also in view, Haus was not certain if she would even play softball collegiately before committing to Notre Dame.
“It wasn’t what I expected,” says Haus, recalling her transition from high school to the collegiate scene. “I hadn’t played in almost two years when I got here because of injuries, so I was kind of trying to get back in the swing of things and hoping for the best, and it ended up working out. It was me focusing on getting back and trying to get to my best ability again, and I was able to make a big impact that way.
“It took a little bit to get back into the swing of things. Just the little things, that quick game sense,” Haus adds. “That year we brought back only two or three starters, so all of us that hadn’t had that much experience were thrown into the fire, and I think we all grew together.”
That fire would forge a strong infield who became close both on and off the field, and would account for a large portion of the Irish’s success over the next four years.
“Our core infield has been together for a while, so that builds a lot of confidence, but I think you also learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses and find better ways to communicate with one another,” Haus says. “Being able to grow together from the beginning has been able to build a lot of trust and confidence, and it has made our infield pretty solid at this point.”
It was amongst this tight nit infield that Katey Haus was able to establish herself as a true leader and glue gal. Over the years she has not only been an integral member of the Notre Dame Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and Rosenthal Leadership Academy off the field, and a steady presence in the Notre Dame lineup on it, Haus has also emerged as a vocal leader on the diamond.
“She’s the one that’s got the answers when things get hectic out there and it’s a crazy inning,” Ganeff says. “She’s the one that’s calling the infield in together, and she’s the one that can feel the pace of the game and feel the tensions that might be going on, or if someone needs a pick me up. I think she’s someone who has a good feel for the pace of the game and what her teammates need.
“She really is a good communicator, too,” Ganeff adds. “You never will be out there and not hear her telling everybody, `Ok the play’s here,’ or, `Be ready for the bunt,’ things like that.”
Beyond her leadership, what makes Katey Haus such an effective glue gal is her contagious confidence. When she is playing well, her team usually follows suit.
“It just goes back to that reliability factor,” Ganeff says. “People feel comfortable, people feel confident when she’s up to bat and know she’s going to make something happen. There’s that feeling that if she can make something happen we can do it too, and I think that sets the tone.”
With her early season success setting a high benchmark, Haus continues to work toward ending her Notre Dame career on a high note.
“My goal this year is to have fun,” Haus says. “It’s my last year, and I really want to take this team somewhere where we’ve never been before and just have fun with it. So I’m going to try to keep it loose and not press too hard.”