WEEK 2 NOTES:
HOME SWEET HOME: Coastal Carolina plays at the CCU Softball Field for the first time in the 2008 season this weekend when the Lady Chanticleers host a double round-robin with Maryland and Elon.
TOP NOTCH COMPETITION: For the second consecutive week, CCU will play a team that has received votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegeiate Top 25 Poll. Maryland was one of 17 teams to receive votes in the latest poll, which was released on Feb. 12. Last weekend, the Lady Chants played Southern Illinois, who received votes in both the preseason and this week’s poll.
SCOUTING MARYLAND: The Terrapins enter the weekend with a 3-1 record... Maryland took part in the FAU Kick-Off Classic in Boca Raton, Fla. last weekend... Included in the Terps’ three wins was a 2-0 victory over 12th-ranked Michigan Friday, Feb. 8... Kerry Hickey was Maryland’s top hitter on the weekend, batting .500 and having six hits off 12 at bats... Pitcher Sarah Dooley started in three of the Terps’ four games, throwing for 10.2 innings and having a 1.31 ERA... Also in the pitching circle was Hickey, who picked up two wins and did not give up an earned run last weekend.
SCOUTING ELON: The Phoenix are off to a 3-0 start in 2008... Elon hosted Savannah State Feb. 9-10 and outscored the Tigers 35-0 during the weekend... Four different players each belted a home run for the Phoenix in their three games against Savannah State.
LIVE VIDEO ACTION: Sunday’s game between Coastal Carolina and Maryland is the Big South’s Game of the Week. Live video of the game will be streamed online via THE EDGE on www.bigsouthsports.com. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 per game.
PISONE NAMED BIG SOUTH PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Freshman Ashley Pisone was selected as the first Big South Player of the Week for the 2008 season. The Greenburg, Pa. native was 6-for-18, hit .333, scored four runs and had one double and three RBI at the JU/Best Western Invitational Feb. 8-10. Defensively, Pisone had 22 putouts and one assist and a 1.000 fielding percentage.
WHILE AT THE JU/BEST WESTERN INVITATIONAL: Coastal Carolina went 2-4 at the JU/Best Western Invitational Feb. 8-10 at the JU Softball Complex in Jacksonville, Fla. The Lady Chants picked up their first win of the season with a 2-1 victory over UNC Greensboro Saturday, Feb. 9. CCU concluded the tournament with a 3-1 win over host Jacksonville Sunday, Feb. 10.
SIX IS THE NUMBER FOR WALKER: For sophomore Laicole Walker, six was not just her jersey number at the JU/Best Western Invitational. It was also the number of games she started, the number of runs she scored as well as the number of hits she had. Walker’s six runs were a team-high and she was one of four Lady Chants with six hits on the weekend.
IMPRESSIVE DEBUTS: Junior transfer Verity Long-Droppert and freshman Ashley Pisone had a pair of impressive debuts in Coastal’s season-opening weekend at the JU/Best Western Invitational. Both players registered six hits and three RBI. Of Long-Droppert’s six hits, three were for multiple bases as she had two doubles and one triple. Meanwhile, in addition to her six hits and three RBI, Pisone also scored four runs and posted a .333 batting average.
BIRNBAUM ON THE OFFENSE AND THE DEFENSE: Junior Brittany Birnbaum was the fourth Lady Chanticleer to tally six total hits during the JU/Best Western Invitational, going 6-for-18 with two runs and two RBI. Defensively, the first baseman from Chino Hills, Calif. native totaled 46 putouts.
WE’RE GOING STREAKING: Junior Brittany Birnbaum has the longest current hitting streak for the Lady Chants, having hits in each of her last four games. CCU alum Sara Graziano (1993-94) owns the NCAA record for consecutive games hit streak with 43. The CCU and Big South Hall of Famer connected on a hit in every game spanning from April 8, 1993 to March 24, 1994.
COASTAL SELECTED THIRD IN PRESEASON POLL: CCU was selected to finish third in the annual Big South Conference preseason poll, as voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. The Lady Chants picked up 42 points in the poll. Defending Big South Conference champion Winthrop topped the poll with 68 points and 10 first-place votes.
THE LONE RANGER: The 2008 roster consists of just one senior, Allison Cantrell. Cantrell joins juniors Brittany Birnbaum and Kelsey Riffel and junior transfers Shannon Connors and Verity Long-Droppert as the only upperclassman. Five sophomores and five freshman round out the roster.
WE’RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE: Not a single member of the 2008 roster calls South Carolina home. Meanwhile, Kansas is the home to the most number of players on the 2008 CCU softball team with Alicia Irwin, Kelsey Riffel and Laicole Walker all hailing from the Sunflower State.
NOW FOR YOUR STARTERS...: Senior Allison Cantrell has been penciled in as a starter in all 131 games of her CCU career. Cantrell did miss several games during the 2006 season due to a leg injury. Cantrell is the only player on the 2008 roster to have played in more than 65 games at CCU.
USA, USA, USA: CCU will square off with the best softball players in the world as the Lady Chants face the U.S. Olympic Team in exhibition action, March 6 at 8:30 p.m., in Clearwater, Fla.
TOUCH ‘EM ALL: A year ago, Allison Cantrell belted the second most home runs in a CCU single-season with 15. The record belongs to Meagen Johnson who connected on 20 longballs in the 2006 season. Cantrell currently ranks 10th on the CCU career homers list with 16, trailing leader Holly Lee (2000-03) who hit 44.
IN THE CIRCLE: Sophomore Ashley Frederick had a stellar freshman season in the circle for the Lady Chants. She ranked third in the Big South in saves (three), fourth in innings pitched (189.2), tied for fifth in games started (26) and sixth in ERA (2.66). She tossed 20 complete games and recorded 118 strikeouts.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK: The Lady Chants welcome eight newcomers to the program for the 2008 season. Transfers junior Verity Long-Droppert (Western Australia), junior Shannon Connors (Plattsburgh State) and sophomore Mecaela Ballard (Glaveston JC) join freshmen Morgon Dodd, Michelle Evans, Ashley Pedersen, Ashley Pisone and Cass Stuart.
CANTRELL EARNS AWARDS: Senior Allison Cantrell collected several Big South honors during the 2007 season. She was named to the All-Big South Second Team and All-Tournament Team. She was also selected for the All-Tournament team during her freshman campaign in 2005.
HEAD COACH JESS DANNELLY: Jess Dannelly enters his 21st season at the helm for the Lady Chants. With his 634 career wins, Dannelly is the winningest coach in CCU history in any sport. The seven-time Big South Coach of the Year has led CCU to six regular season league titles, five Big South Tournament titles and four NCAA Regional Appearances.
THE ASSISTANTS: Sarah Lockett and Megan Matthews Buning, both superb collegiate softball players, join Dannelly as assistant coaches. Lockett was a three-year starter for the Lady Chants, leading Coastal to two Big South titles, while earning both Player of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year twice. Matthews Buning complied an outstanding collegiate career as a pitcher at South Carolina, finishing with over 100 wins and 1,090 strikeouts, the 11 most in NCAA history.