Aug 27, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova softball squad released its schedule for the upcoming fall season. The Wildcats play in eight games, including three tournaments during the fall ball segment in 2013.
The team looks to the fall as a means to get better offensively after graduating five seniors last spring. However, the Wildcats will return Ali Lowe and Shea Palmer, two of their top three hitters from last season.
"We're really excited to get the season started," head coach Maria DiBernardi said. "We have eight freshmen entering the program that we're really hoping to replace the offensive production that departed. Our defense should be solid but we need to get the bats going."
Starting shortstop Lowe led the team with 48 hits and 26 runs, including a superb .304 average in 51 starts. Palmer excelled in her freshman season in the outfield, hitting .296 in 49 starts and scoring a second best 25 runs.
Villanova will return its two best arms in pitchers Kate Poppe and Kaity Sitzman. Poppe was a workhorse for Villanova and closed out a spectacular freshman season with 19 wins, 2.56 ERA and an overpowering 256 strikeouts in 237.2 innings of work. Sitzman will begin her senior year after posting a team-best 2.46 ERA in 91.0 innings pitched.
"I think our pitching should be very strong. We acquired two left handed freshman pitchers that should benefit Kate and Kaity who threw the bulk of the innings a year ago," DiBernardi added. "The two left handers will also give opposing teams a different perspective from the other side of the plate."
The squad will officially begin the fall with the first day of practice taking place Sept. 3 and have a couple of weeks to prepare before a doubleheader (Noon/2p.m.) to open the season against Lehigh Sept. 21 in Bethlehem, Pa.
The following day, the Wildcats will travel across state lines to Newark for the Delaware Tournament. Villanova will take on host Delaware at 11 a.m. and Kutztown at 1:15 p.m.
On Sept. 28, the softball team will make its way into Ewing, N.J. for the Memorial Tournament where it will battle Rider at 10:00 a.m. and Iona at 12:15 p.m.
The Wildcats will conclude their fall season Oct. 5 with a doubleheader against city rivals in the Philly Finest Tournament. Villanova will play Penn at 10 a.m. before finishing off with La Salle at 2:00 p.m.