Softball Opens 2010 Against Virginia & Notre Dame
Feb. 25, 2010
WASHINGTON-GW softball opens the 2010 season on Friday with early morning games against Notre Dame and Virginia in a snow-changed Virginia Invitational, moving from Charlottesville, VA, to the Christopher Newport University campus in Newport News, VA. The Colonials will face Cavaliers at 9 a.m. and then take on the Irish for the first time in program history at 10:30 a.m. at CNU's Captain's Park.
In the second day of the invitational, GW will be back on the field at 10 a.m. Saturday against Notre Dame, before taking on Virginia at 3 p.m.
"We are excited to start this spring," said Staehle. "We are anxious to test our freshmen and returnees with some great competition early on."
GW faces teams from the Big Ten, ACC, Big East, and the Patriot League in early non-conference play. The Colonials begin their season at the Virginia Invitational, facing first-time opponent Notre Dame and tournament host, Virginia. The Buff and Blue travel to the state of Florida to take on Florida International and Michigan State in early March.
"We know we need to play well early in the spring against these schools," said Staehle. "If we work hard and stay healthy, we welcome the opportunity to get back to the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament in May."
Penna picked up where Clauss left off, getting valuable experience in and out of conference play. She tossed 59.2 innings in 15 appearances, with a 5-4 win over Mount St. Mary's on May 31. "Heidi did a great job stepping up for us and has made tremendous improvements this fall," said Staehle.
Junior Ali Pardo returns after missing all of the 2009 season while recovering from surgery. "We look to have strong performances from Ali as she continues to get back into game shape," said Staehle. "Her work ethic and good movement will be a valuable asset to our pitching staff."
Freshman Elane Nescio, from Pasadena, MD, will be a strong addition to the pitching staff. Nescio brings experience from playing with a strong high school, Spalding High, and her traveling team, the Severna Park Hornets.
A nucleus of sophomores and freshmen will round out the infield with some much-needed depth. Sophomore Jordyn O'Donnell will play second base and perhaps see additional time at first-base, after logging time at nearly every position last season. Freshman walk-on Julie Orlandi, from Owings, MS, should see significant playing time on the infield. "Julie led off for us this fall and is a great spark-plug," said Staehle. Clauss will play first base when not in the circle, while Moynihan will push the returners for playing time. Moynihan brings a potent bat and is a vocal teammate. Nescio has worked some at second base this fall and could see action when not in the circle.
There will be competition for the corner spots in the outfield. Clauss could also see time in leftfield when not in the circle as well as sophomore Lauren Wilson, who saw action in 46 games and smacked a team-leading eight doubles. Jamie Yaniga played in 31 games, and Ali Waterman, who saw playing time in 30 games and hit a big homerun against UMass, also will compete for time. Freshman Autumn Taylor, a Severna Park, MD native, has a potent bat and will certainly push for a starting role. "Autumn has tremendous strength and speed and we are excited to see her in action this spring," said Staehle. Walk-on sophomore, Amanda Zakeri, from Toledo, OH, is a speedy addition to our roster and will certainly assist in pinch running and may see action in the outfield.
The Colonials take on more DC-metro rivals this season with George Mason, Georgetown and a doubleheader against Howard on the schedule. The team also will face UMBC, Towson and Maryland in two-game sets. Last season, GW split eight games against DC-Metro teams.