Softball eyes conference crown in 2012

Senior Lauren Maloney
 
Senior Lauren Maloney
 
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Feb. 15, 2012

Stony Brook, N.Y. - Following a 20-win season a year ago, the Stony Brook softball team and head coach Megan Bryant will look to return to the top of the America East standings in 2012. Ten letterwinners return to the squad and six newcomers join the fold as the Seawolves look for their second conference title in the last four years.

Returning Players

Of the Seawolves’ 10 returning letterwinners, eight saw significant playing time a season ago. Senior Bernadette Tenuto (Audubon, N.J.), who led the team in batting average (.338) and RBI (22) in 2011, returns to anchor an infield that features experience at every position. Sophomore shortstop Jessica Combs (Hammonton, N.J.), a second-team All-America East selection last year, will look to build on a stellar freshman campaign that saw her belt two home runs and knock in 18 runs. Fellow second-team All-America East selection Lauren Maloney (Las Vegas, Nev.) also returns in the infield for her senior season, as will junior Gina Bianculli (Oakdale, N.Y.), who saw action in 46 games in 2011.

In the outfield, Stony Brook welcomes back seniors Alyssa Hawley (Spokane, Wash.) and Suzanne Karath (Fishkill, N.Y.), who each played in all 49 games last year. The duo combined to swipe 26 bases and knock in 16 runs in 2011. Junior Samantha Rossi (Marlton, N.J.) will also be back to add depth to the outfield, as will redshirt-freshman Nicole Hoyle (Warwick, Md.), who sat out last season with an injury.

The Seawolves leaned heavily on the arm of Colleen Matthes in the circle last year, but with her graduation, the team will turn to returning hurlers Taylor Chain (Gloucester, N.J.) and Alexandra Clark (Warsaw, Va.) to lead the way. Chain posted a 5-6 record with a 4.00 ERA in 78.2 IP, while Clark notched two wins and fanned 29 batters in seven starts.

Behind the dish, the Seawolves welcome back sophomore Nicole Schieferstein (Seaford, N.Y.), who played 31 games last year and knocked in two runs.

Newcomers

Six new faces will don the Stony Brook uniform for the first time this season, including four freshmen and two sophomores. At the plate, the Seawolves will welcome the services of Hofstra transfer Nicole Hagerty (Sicklerville, N.J.), who will see time in the infield and at designated player.

Two newcomers will join the outfield mix in freshmen Shayla Giosia (Runnemede, N.J.) and Lauren Kamachi (Surrey, British Columbia), while freshman Sarah Androvich (Carteret, N.J.) will provide depth at the catcher position.

In the circle, Stony Brook will welcome a pair of newcomers that will have an immediate impact on the starting rotation. Freshman Allison Cukrov (Irvine, Calif.) will compete for the top spot in the rotation, while sophomore Christine Lucido (Melville, N.Y.) will add further depth to the unit.

Schedule

The Seawolves will face opponents from several power conferences in 2012, including the Big 12, Big East and Pac-12 in addition to an 18-game America East slate.

The campaign begins with three tournaments that will send the Seawolves to Charlotte, N.C., Washington, D.C. and Ft. Myers, Fla. During this time, Stony Brook will take on the likes of Kansas, Georgetown and Utah, before returning home for its home opener against Texas Tech on March 14.

America East action begins on March 24-25 as the Seawolves will host a weekend series with Hartford. Stony Brook will also host Maine (April 21-22) and Albany (May 5-6) in conference action, while traveling to Boston University (March 31-April 1), UMBC (April 14-15) and Binghamton (April 28-29).

Other highlights of the schedule include a single home game against regional rival Long Island University on April 3 and a home doubleheader against Big East opponent Rutgers on April 17.

The 2012 America East Championship is set for May 10-12 at the highest seed.