Feb. 28, 2008
WASHINGTON, DC - The George Washington University softball team will make its home opener Saturday, March 1, at its 3rd Annual Colonial Classic, at Mount Vernon Softball Field. The two-day, four-team tournament hosted by the Colonials also includes UMBC, Army, and 2007 NCAA Tournament qualifier Canisius. GW has won the Classic the first two seasons, while Army and Canisius make their second straight appearance.
All games can be viewed on GameTracker at www.GWsports.com and are free for all fans. For all of your 2008 Colonial Classic information, visit http://gwsports.cstv.com/ot/07-gewa-softbl-colonial-classic.html.
Saturday, March 1
9:00 am: Army vs. UMBC
11:00 am GW vs. Canisius
1:00 pm: GW vs. Army
3:00 pm: UMBC vs. Canisius
Sunday, March 2
9:00 am: Canisius vs. Army
11:00 am: GW vs. UMBC
1:00 pm: Championship Game
3:00 pm: Consolation Game
GW (2-3) has not played since Feb. 10, when they won the fourth place game at the Carolina Classic. Behind senior Jackie Yaniga, The Colonials took fourth place in the five-team tournament, and Yaniga earned All-Tournament Team honors and was later named Atlantic 10 Softball Player of the Week. Yaniga batted .563 for the Classic, including a team best seven runs scored. The Colonials had several hot bats over the weekend and scored a program-record 22 runs in its win over North Carolina Central. In that record-setting game, which they also tied the school record with 20 base hits, redshirt sophomore Elisa Van Kirk and junior Carrie Higdon both drove in a career-high four runs. Van Kirk drove in a team-high eight runs for the weekend as the Colonials batted .398 in the five games. Van Kirk also collected four base-knocks in five games, one more then all of last season. Sophomore pitcher/outfielder Amanda Gabriel also blasted a team-best two home runs. Gabriel had just one base hit in her freshman season as she saw almost all of her time setting GW single-season records in the circle.
Canisius is making their 2008 season opener at the Classic and are expected to do big things in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Griffs return 10 letterwinners from last year's team that went 27-21 overall and 12-4 in MAAC action en route to the program's 11th MAAC regular season title, the 10th conference tournament crown and the ninth NCAA Division I Softball Tournament appearance. Canisius was picked to win the MAAC and senior Katie Miranto was named the conference Preseason Player of the Year. Juniors Jenny Maheu and Cameron Norton also earned Preseason All-Conference honors.
Army is coming off a 0-5 outing at the competitive Houston Tournament along with Depaul, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Erin McClain led the Black Knights with a .333 average for the tournament with a home run and three runs batted in. Mary Ann Kearney was the only other Cadet with a .300 batting average. Veronica Barth leads the pitching staff this season and homered in Houston. McClain led all returning players in all of the major offensive categories with a .280 average, seven home runs and 29 RBIs. Barth batted .237 last season and led Army with nine wins and a 3.39 ERA last season.
UMBC was swept in a doubleheader at Maryland Wednesday and enters the Classic at 1-5. The Colonials and Retrievers were supposed to meet last Tuesday but were postponed due to inclement weather in the Baltimore area. the Retrievers return a powerful lineup that includes first-team all-conference and all-rookie selection Amanda Fefel and second-teamer Ashley Gray as well as senior captains Kali Shirk and Dana Shepherd. Julia Culotta, a transfer from the University of Tennessee should also make an impact for the Retrievers.