May 11, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Despite a strong, eight-strikeout performance from sophomore hurler Monica Cyphert (Warren, Ohio), the Maryland softball squad wound up on the losing end of another pitchers' duel on day two of the 2002 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships. The Virginia Cavaliers (45-21, 1-6) overcame an early disadvantage and received an impressive pitching performance from their ace, senior Kristen Dennis, to down the Terps 4-1 and eliminate them from the conference tournament. The Terrapins conclude the season at 31-21 (2-3 ACC).
A pair of singles to open the bottom of the second by senior Beth Radford (Dunkirk, Md.) and Cyphert started things up for Maryland. After Jillian Callaway (Brandywine, Md.) sacrificed the runners to second and third, sophomore Liz Gall (Bothell, Wash.) plated the Terps' first run of the tournament with a bloop shot to right-center. A walk to freshman Lauren Pollock (Severna Park, Md.) loaded the bases with one out, but Dennis worked her way out of the jam and avoided further damage.
It was the Cavaliers' turn in the top of the third, loading the bases themselves with only one out. RBI singles by Johanna Kaiser and Dennis gave Virginia a 2-1 lead before the Terps were able to retire the side.
Cyphert allowed only one Cavalier baserunner over the next three innings, but Dennis retired the Terps in order over that span. A throwing error with two on and two outs in the top of the seventh proved costly for Maryland, as it allowed Virginia to stay alive to cross a pair of unearned insurance runs.
Cyphert's record falls to 10-6 with the loss, but she was solid overall scattering four hits and allowing only the two earned runs. She limited Virginia's biggest offensive threats, ACC Player of the Year Dennis and all-conference selection Ruby Rojas, to a combined 1-for-7 with five strikeouts and only the one RBI.
The No. 5 Cavaliers advance to face No. 4 North Carolina at 5 p.m. on Saturday in the losers' half of the bracket. The winner of the No. 2 Georgia Tech-No. 1 Florida State match-up advances to the tournament semifinal round.
The Terps, who finished third in the ACC after the regular season, conclude the conference tournament in fifth place. Their .596 winning percentage on the year is the third best in the eight-year history of Maryland softball.