March 21, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa. -As all eight teams begin conference play this weekend, for the first time this season the Villanova softball team (8-12) will return to its home field when the Wildcats are set to take on Georgetown (9-12) for a three game series at the Villanova Softball Complex. The two old foes will play a doubleheader beginning Saturday at noon before closing the series with a 12 p.m. showdown on Sunday.
"We are very excited to begin conference play this weekend. There is a lot of parity in the BIG EAST this year and every game is important," Villanova head coach Maria DiBernardi said. "We are a little shorthanded with Ali Lowebeing out with a concussion but I am confident others will step up and fill the void. Our kids are pumped up to finally return home."
Following tournament action, the Wildcats boast an 8-12 record with wins over Harvard, Florida Gulf Coast and Boston University. Last weekend at the Delaware Invitational, Villanova split with Robert Morris and knocked off Delaware on Sunday to enter this weekend with some momentum.
The Wildcats lead the conference with a 2.30 ERA and sophomore ace Kate Poppeis a key factor for that number. Poppe was recognized on the BIG EAST Honor Roll for the second time in as many weeks and third time this season. The Downingtown, Pa. product has been overpowering opposing batters, holding hitters to a BIG EAST best .156 batting average and 1.34 ERA. She is 5-7 with a save and ranks third in the conference with 105 strikeouts and 21st in the country allowing 3.76 hits per seven innings.
The freshmen have played an integral role for Villaonova thus far, accounting for 44 of the team's 105 hits. Chase Snell leads the way with 16 hits and a .262 batting average, including two game winning hits in her first five games. Jordan Prutzerhas looked solid in the circle during her six appearances this season. Serving mostly as a reliever, Prutzer is 1-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 16.0 innings.
Led by Megan Hyson in the lineup and on the mound, the Hoyas are 9-12 following five tournaments to begin the year. Hyson's .387 batting average and 15 RBI ranks third in the conference to go along with a BIG EAST high seven doubles and .479 on base percentage. The junior righty is among the leaders in several pitching categories as well. She is 6-6 with a 1.86 ERA, including four shutouts and 68 strikeouts in 75.1 innings of work. Alexandria Anttila and Hannah Slovacek combine for 30 hits, 24 RBI and 15 runs scored.
"Megan Hyson is very good and we have been preparing for her all week. I feel confident that we are ready," added DiBernardi.
The Villanova Softball Complex is located on Pike Field across from Villanova stadium and admission is free for the public. Saturday's doubleheader will be broadcast on Nova Nation All-Access. Live stats can be followed through Gametracker.
Be sure to follow the team socially on Twitter @VUSoftball, Instagram @novasoftball and Facebook to stay up to date with the latest news, scores and highlights from the Wildcats throughout the season.