April 18, 2002
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -
After sweeping doubleheaders from local rivals Towson (April 10) and George Mason (April 17) in the last two weeks, the Terrapin softball squad hosts conference foe Virginia in a doubleheader on April 20 at 1 p.m. The Terrapins will honor their seniors on Saturday in College Park, while attempting to even their ACC record and avenge a 5-7 defeat at the hands of the Cavaliers from the Tar Heel Invitational on April 6.
While the April meeting between the Terps and Cavaliers at the Tar Heel Invitational did not count toward the conference standings, the pair to be played on Saturday will factor in the ACC rankings and give one of the teams their first conference victory of the 2002 season. Florida State, the last team to begin conference play, owns an early lead at 2-0 after sweeping a doubleheader from upstart Georgia Tech (6-2). The Terrapins still have ACC dates with Virginia, North Carolina and the Seminoles prior to seeding for the ACC Championships, which will be held in Tallahassee, Fla., from March 10-12.
The Terrapins head into Saturday's doubleheader on a four-game win streak. Tremendous pitching performances by senior fireballer Amanda Bettker (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and sophomore Monica Cyphert (Warren, Ohio) tamed George Mason's offense on April 17, as both recorded two-hit shutout victories. Meanwhile, redshirt sophomore Samantha Sweeney (Marlton, N.J.) sparked the Terps at the plate with a 6-for-8 (.750) performance that included two triples, a stolen base, two RBI and four runs scored. Fellow sophomore Casey Leiter (Lake Stevens, Wash.) registered two base hits and drove in three runs.
Senior Day Festivities To Be Held On SaturdaySaturday's doubleheader against the Virginia Cavaliers marks the final home weekend games for the Terrapins this season, and the final home weekend contests for Terp seniors Amanda Bettker, Kiesha Pickeral (Hughesville, Md.), Danielle Carpenter (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) and Beth Radford (Dunkirk, Md.).
The Maryland Athletics Department and the Terrapin softball program will thank and honor our four seniors and their families for their years of dedication and service to the university in a ceremony prior to the first game.
Remaining weekday home dates on the Terps' 2002 schedule include Wednesday, April 24 vs. St. Joseph's and Thursday, May 2 vs. Florida State.
Towson Doubleheader Re-Scheduled For April 30The doubleheader that was originally scheduled for March 20 at Towson has now been re-slated for April 30 at 3:30 p.m. The games had been moved to Towson due to rain and postponed until the eventual date could be found for re-scheduling. The doubleheader meeting between the Terps and Tigers will be the second this season.
Terps At A GlanceWith a mix of seasoned veterans, key role players and talented newcomers, the Terrapins have made positive strides this season in terms of maintaining their position as a conference, regional and national contender.
Redshirt sophomore Samantha Sweeney has marked a tremendous comeback from her 2001 surgery with a team-leading .345 batting average, 33 runs scored, 21 stolen bases and 20 walks. Sweeney ranks among ACC leaders in all three of those categories, including listing third in the ACC in steals.
Senior Kiesha Pickeral is second among Terp regulars in batting with a .315 average, good enough to rank in the top 10 among conference leaders. Her 11 doubles pace the squad and rank second among ACC power hitters, while her team-leading .500 slugging percentage and three home runs set her among the conference elite as well.
Maryland's all-time RBI leader, senior Beth Radford's 26 runs batted in paces the Terps and lists seventh among conference leaders. She boasts eight doubles, which also ties for fourth in the conference. Her .372 batting average with runners in scoring position leads the squad.
Sophomore double-threat Monica Cyphert has belted three homers to tie Pickeral for the Terp lead, but also leads Maryland's pitching staff with an 9-3 record and a .189 opponent batting average.
Senior fireballer Amanda Bettker has fought through some early-season injuries en route to a 11-10 record, but her 1.46 ERA leads the Terrapins and ranks sixth in the ACC. She also paces the Terp rotation with five shutouts, 129.1 innings pitched and 120 strikeouts, all good enough to make the ACC top 10.
Rookie hurler Jessica Aditays (Shrewsbury, Mass.) has come on strong in her freshman campaign. She owns a 2.01 ERA in 17 appearances, a 2.1 strikeout to walk ratio and will only improve with more experience.
Fellow freshman Malissa Moczulski (Burlington, N.J.) has become an everyday player for head coach Gina LaMandre, replacing four-year shortstop Jennifer Potzman. Moczulski is batting a respectable .268, and has proven to be a clutch player with a .308 average with runners in scoring position.
Newcomer Lauren Pollock (Severna Park, Md.) has started 36 games for the Terrapins, and has posted a solid .273 batting average. Her 14 RBI ranks fourth on the squad, as do her two home runs.
Scouting VirginiaThe Cavaliers (40-17) play a twinbill at Elon on Thursday, April 18, before coming to College Park on Saturday. Virginia lost twice to North Carolina on April 14 and defeated UMBC twice on April 16 in Catonsville, Md., before heading south to take on the Phoenix.
The Terps and Cavaliers faced off once already this season, which resulted in a 7-5 Virginia win at the Tar Heel Invitational on April 6. In that game Virginia's Kristen Dennis went 2-for-2 with a double and a home run as the Cavaliers overcame a 5-0 head start by Maryland. With four runs on five hits in the top of the first and another run in the second, the Terrapins held a commanding lead before Virginia got on the board in the bottom of the second and went on to win.
A season ago, Virginia took two out of three meetings with the Terps, but Gina LaMandre's squad stepped up when it mattered most. Despite a one hour, twenty-seven minute rain delay, the Terrapins went on to down Virginia, 3-1, in last year's ACC Tournament quarterfinal. Amanda Bettker forced 13 fly-outs in a complete game victory, while Danielle Carpenter beat out a RBI-infield single in the fourth to put the Terps up by the final margin.
Cavalier head coach Cheryl Sprangel is currently in her fifth year in the Cavalier dugout and 19th season overall. She owns a 653-477-1 career record headed into Saturday's games. The Wahoos posted a 52-17 slate last year and finished third in the ACC.
Senior double-threat Dennis leads the Cavaliers at the plate and in the circle, with a .406 batting average to complement a 21-8 pitching record. She also keys Virginia with 11 home runs and 49 RBI. Junior Ruby Rojas boasts 10 homers and has driven home 33 runs for the Hoos.
Maryland owns a 6-13 record against the Cavaliers in the all-time series, winning only twice since 1999.
Field Of DreamsConstruction is now complete on the University of Maryland's new $3.6 million softball complex after ground was broken last summer. The facility stands as the latest improvement to a Maryland athletics program that already ranks among Sports Illustrated For Women's Top 10 institutions in the nation for female athletes.
Amenities at the state-of-the-art facility include stadium seating for over 1,000 fans, underground dugouts with restrooms, two bullpen areas and four batting cages, light towers, an electronic scoreboard, a concessions area, a ticket booth, a press box and a natural Bermuda Grass outfield. Located adjacent to Maryland's future Comcast Center on the north side of campus, student-athletes will have access to locker room and weight training facilities, an indoor practice gymnasium, athletic department offices and the academic support and career development unit. Parents, fans and media will have ample parking when the Comcast lots are complete.
Since the softball program's inception in 1995, eighth-year mentor LaMandre has guided the Terps to a 245-193-1 record. The three-time NFCA Mid-Atlantic coach of the year put her program on the national map first in 1997 with a share of the ACC tournament title, and even more so in 1999 when the team amassed a 51-23 record, a No. 12 national ranking and advancement to the NCAA regional final game. The 2001 Terrapins posted a 39-23 record.