CUA travels to Shenandoah for 2011 opener on Saturday

WASHINGTON – Softball season begins this weekend for the Cardinals when CUA travels to Virginia to take on Shenandoah in a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon.  Head Coach Bruce McConkey's squad is coming off a 2010 season in which it went 26-15 overall and advanced to the semifinals of the ECAC Tournament.

CUA will be led this year by junior Megan Rizzi, who batted a team-leading .403 in 2010 and registered 48 hits, 14 doubles and four homeruns.  Rizzi also totaled a slugging percentage of .739 to go with 44 RBI.

Other returning Cardinals that made an impact offensively last season include Melissa Rebecchi (.400 average), Taylor Stockinger (30 hits, 11 doubles), and Kristen Trancynger (.325 average). 

CUA's pitchers carried a 2.05 ERA between them last season but the Cardinals graduated two of their top hurlers in Stephanie Clemente (11 wins, 1.81 ERA) and Stacie Goddard (12 wins, 103 strikeouts).  Sophomore Cecilia Ehresman (1.83 ERA) returns to lead the CUA staff, which features plenty of new talent.

Like CUA, Shenandoah will be opening its season on Saturday.  The Hornets posted a record of 21-19-1 a season ago and are looking for their fourth straight winning season under Marlena Kotynski. 

Five Shenandoah players return this season after garnering All-USA South accolades in 2010.  The five honorees include Ashley Plaugher, Jolisa Jones, Brooke Over, Lauren McCabe and Catherine Pruiett.

Jones was the team's leading hitter with a .370 batting average and 50 hits and Plaughter was the top run producer with 22 RBI. 

In the circle, Over leads the pitching staff after she registered an 11-10 record to go along with a 1.88 earned run average last year in 148.2 innings of work.

CUA and Shenandoah have played each other only six times, with the last meeting taking place in 2005.  The Cardinals lead the all-time series 4-2.

Saturday's doubleheader begins at 1:30 p.m.  Shenandoah will offer live stats of both contests.

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