Softball Opens Season at Triangle Classic

Feb. 18, 1998

THIS WEEK: Maryland, the defending Atlantic Coast Conference champions, opens its 1998 season playing Friday through Sunday at the Triangle Classic in Chapel Hill, N.C.

TOURNAMENT FIELD: The North Carolina Triangle Classic field includes 25 teams: Akron, Campbell, Drexel, East Carolina, Eastern Kentucky, George Mason, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Illinois-Chicago, Kentucky, Marshall, Maryland-Baltimore County,

Miami-Ohio, Minnesota, North Carolina-Chapel Hill, North Carolina-Charlotte, North Carolina-Greensboro, North Carolina-Wilmington, Ohio, Radford, Rhode Island, Temple, Virginia Tech and Youngstown State.

POOL PLAY: Maryland joins Drexel, Miami-Ohio, North Carolina-Wilmington and Rhode Island in one pool. Five pools consisting of five teams make up the tournament field, and single-elimination bracket play begins on Saturday evening.

Fri., Feb. 20   vs. Drexel              Noon
                vs. Miami-Ohio          2 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 21   vs. Rhode Island        3 p.m.
                vs. UNC-Wilmington      5 p.m.
                Single Elimination      7 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 22   Single Elimination      TBA

NEXT WEEK: Maryland plays in the East Carolina Pirate Classic, Friday through Sunday (Feb. 27-March 1) in Greenville, N.C.

OUTLOOK: Maryland returns five starters from last year's ACC championship team. Headlining this year's team is 1998 All-America candidate, pitcher Kelly Shipman. Shipman set new school records last season in batting average (.325) and stolen bases (14), and also pitched the school's first perfect game. Juniors Tisha Killian, Fawna Lackovic and Amy Sandler also return to create a powerful infield.

NOTING THE 1997 SEASON: Maryland recorded a 26-23 record and captured a share of the ACC Championship. It marked the first time in ACC softball history that a team had captured the title in only three years of existence. Maryland's 33 wins in 1996 are a school-high. Then-sophomore pitcher Kelly Shipman established new school records in batting average (.325) and stolen bases (14). She also pitched the school's first perfect game and tied her old record of 12 shutouts. Then-sophomore Fawna Lackovic also set a new school record with two home runs.

HEAD COACH GINA LAMANDRE: Maryland head coach Gina LaMandre is in her fourth year as head coach of the Terps, and enters the '98 campaign with a 74-80-1 overall record. LaMandre was hired in 1995 to construct a newly-developed Maryland softball program, and in 1997 the Terps took their first step into becoming a recognizable program. LaMandre guided the Terps to a share of the ACC title, and was rewarded by her peers as the Speedline/NSCA Coach of the Year for the Mid-Atlantic region, her second such honor in her three years at Maryland.

ACC PRESEASON POLL: In a preseason poll of the Atlantic Coast Conference coaches, Maryland was picked to finish second behind Florida State. North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia Tech were picked to finish third, fourth and fifth, respectively.