Softball Opens 2011 Season At Lancer Lead-Off This Weekend

Lancer Leadoff - Lancer Field - Farmville, Va.
Quinnipiac University Bobcats
Longwood University Lancers
Army University Black Knights
IUPUI Jaguars

HAMDEN, Conn. - The Quinnipiac University softball team will play its first games of the 2011 season at the Lancer Lead-Off Classic in Farmville, Va. on Feb. 19 and Feb. 20. The Bobcats will play IUPUI, Army and host Longwood University at the tournament. Live stats will be available for each of Quinnipiac's four games.

On Saturday, Feb. 19, the Bobcats will play two contests, the first against IUPUI at 9 a.m. and the second against Army at 11 a.m. Quinnipiac will play Army, for the second time, on Sunday at 9 a.m. and host Longwood at 1 p.m.

The Bobcats were recently selected to finish fourth in the 2011 Northeast Conference Coaches' Preseason Poll, after making an appearance in the NEC Tournament in 2010. The Bobcats posted a 29-24 overall record and a 15-5 mark in conference play last year.

The Bobcats are led by two-time All-Northeast Conference pitcher Heather Schwartzburg (Mission Viejo, Calif.), who earned the 2009 NEC Rookie of the Year title and a First Team selection in 2010. Alex Alba (Sylmar, Calif.) was named the NEC's Rookie of the Year in 2010. Senior captain Joelle Jacobsen (Flemington, N.J.) will lead the Bobcats this season, alongside 12 returning letterwinners, five freshman and two junior transfers from Iowa Lakes Community College in Ashley Heiberger (Sioux Falls, S.D.) and Christy Cabrera (Reno, Nev.)

Host Longwood University will play its first games of the season at its annual tournament. The Lancers ended the 2010 season at 36-16 overall and at 15-7 in the conference. Longwood has 12 letterwinners returning this season, including senior catcher Brittany Matthews and senior left-handed pitcher Briana Wells, who went 31-10 last year and posted a 2.69 ERA.

The Lancers will start three returning players in the infield and three seniors in the outfield this year, including Maggie Margadonna at second base, Ashley Kramer at shortstop and Courtney Long at first base. Margadonna scored 39 runs last season, while Kramer recorded 34 RBIs. Three Lancers put up double-figure homeruns last season, including sophomore infielder Brooke Short.

IUPUI enters the tournament at 2-2 on the year, after opening the season at the Belmont/Hampton Inn-Brentwood Spring Tournament last weekend. The Jaguars were led by senior outfielder Chelsie Hale, freshman Brandi Lawson, and freshman pitcher Nikki Thomas.

Hale contributed five RBIs and two home runs last weekend, while Lawson, who went 4-for-9 at the tournament, added four RBIs and one home run. Thomas went 1-1 at the tournament and earned her first-career shutout. The freshman pitcher also posted two runs, three hits and a double.

Army enters the Lancer Lead-Off with a 3-1 record. The Black Knights lost to Houston Babtist University, 8-0, in its first contest of the 2011 season on Feb. 12. Army went on to win three-straight games, defeating Houston Babtist twice, and Texas Southern, last weekend.

The Black Knights are led by freshman Amanda Nguyen who's already contributed eight hits, four runs and two RBIs this year. Sophomore infielder Alex Reynolds leads the team in RBIs (6), while freshman pitcher Haley Pypes has hit Army's only homerun this season. Pypes has two wins as a Black Knights' starting pitcher and a 2.25 ERA.