PRINCESS ANNE, Md.- This weekend, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore softball team opens its 2014 campaign in Charleston, S.C., at the Charleston Southern Tournament. The Lady Hawks will compete in a four-team tournament, hosted by Charleston Southern University.
The Lady Hawks finished 14-35 overall (5-13 MEAC) and did not qualify for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Softball Tournament, located in Ormond Beach, Fla. at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex. The team finished fifth in the MEAC Northern Division, behind Hampton (2013 MEAC Champions), Norfolk State, Delaware State, and Coppin State.
The Lady Hawks return nine players from last season and many were either freshman or new to the program. Vanessa Gomez (Belleville, N.J.), recently named to the College Sports Madness 2014 MEAC Preseason Second Team All-Conference, is among the top returners for UMES as she finished her 2013 campaign posting a .304 batting average while leading the team in categories, such as hits (51), walks (24), and stolen bases (31). Morgan King (Danville, Ill.), also selected to the College Sports Madness 2014 MEAC Preseason Second Team All- Conference, was second on the team in batting average (.325), behind graduating senior Jasmine James (.350). King also led the team in several offensive categories, including slugging percentage (.468), RBIs (34), and home runs (4).
UMES competes in the four-team tournament with CSU, Elon University, and the University of North Carolina (UNC)- Wilmington. The Lady Hawks open the tournament against the host team, Charleston Southern, on Friday (02/07). Game-time is scheduled for 1 p.m. (EST) The next day (02/08), UMES squares off against the Buccaneers again at 3 p.m. (EST)
Last season, the Charleston Southern finished 15-40 overall (7-17 Big South) and ninth in the conference. This season, CSU received one first-place vote and predicted to finish fifth in the Big South. The Buccaneers are led by seniors Marci Christian and Stephanie Sbardella.
After their contest against CSU, the Lady Hawks take on UNC-Wilmington on the opening day of the tournament. Game time is 3 p.m. (EST) In 2013, the Seahawks ended the season 16-37 overall (8-18 CAA) and finished seventh in the conference. This season, senior Morgan Ayers and junior Casey Rowland lead the Seahawk attack.
On day two (02/08), the softball team opens the day versus Elon University before playing CSU. The first pitch against Elon is set for 11 a.m. (EST) On the final day (02/09), UMES wraps-up its tournament against Elon. Game-time is 1:00 p.m. (EST) Last season, Phoenix finished their 2013 campaign 21-31 overall (8-14 SoCon) and eighth in the conference. Prior to the season, Elon was tabbed to finish seventh in the Southern Conference, led by four 2014 Southern Conference Preseason All-Conference Players; Carleigh Nester, Emily Cameron, Lauren Oldham, and Johanna Spencer.
The Lady Hawks return to the field Feb. 21-23 as they head to Greensboro, N.C. to participate in the North Carolina A&T Tournament. Check www.umeshawks.com for times and opponents.