May 9, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A season ago, Maryland softball player Samantha Sweeney (Marlton, N.J.) was recovering from surgery on her right elbow, unable to help her team compete on the field. This year Sweeney has come back with a vengeance, battling to earn a starting position in centerfield and the leadoff spot in the lineup, and pacing the squad and ranking among conference leaders with a .353 batting average, a .476 on-base percentage, 35 runs scored and a school-record 24 stolen bases.
Thursday night, on the eve of the 11th annual ACC Softball Championships, Sweeney's comeback effort was rewarded with All-ACC accolades. Her award marks the 12th conference honor for a Maryland player since the Terps' inception in 1995.
"It has been tough, having to come back from different injuries," said Sweeney. "I am really honored to have been selected to the All-ACC team with all of the great players that there are in this league, and I really have to thank my coaches and teammates for their support and encouragement. Individuals only receive awards like this if the team is playing well together."
Sweeney had a solid freshman campaign in 2000 despite missing games with eye and elbow injuries, the later of which led to her off-season surgery and redshirt season. This year Sweeney has played in all 50 of the Terps' games and has posted individual highs in every offensive statistical category. She was named ACC Player of the Week on Feb. 11, Maryland Student-Athlete of the Week on April 23 and has achieved Bama Bash and George Mason Spring Clash All-Tournament honors.
With 24 stolen bases and counting in 2002, Sweeney has set a new Terrapin single-season stolen bases record, surpassing 1999 ACC Player of the Year Kelly Shipman's 14 steals in the 1997 season. Furthermore, Sweeney's new career total eclipsed Maryland's all-time record after only two seasons. The previous record was 25, set by All-ACC outfielder Michelle Burrell from 1998-2001.
Sweeney and the third-seeded Terrapins begin play in the ACC Championship Tournament against No. 2 Georgia Tech at 5 p.m. on Friday, My 10. For live stats from all games, check out the front page of the official website of Maryland Athletics at www.umterps.com.
A complete list of the 2002 All-ACC Softball team, as well as Coach, Player and Rookie of the Year, is available at www.theacc.com.
Contact: Chelsey Trowbridge/Mark Fratto
301-314-TERP (Fan Phone)