May 20, 2011

NCAA Super Regionals at C.W. Post Await Softball

The Particulars:
After winning the East Region 1 last weekend, Merrimack will challenge C.W. Post in the NCAA Tournament East Super Regional May 20-21. The Warriors are 31-21 heading into the best-of-three series. The Pioneers hold a 39-14 overall record on the year.

About Merrimack:
The Warriors boasts a 31-21 overall record with a 20-10 mark in the Northeast-10 Conference. Merrimack reached the finals of the Northeast-10 Tournament before falling twice to Southern Connecticut State. The Warriors topped the Owls in the NCAA Tournament East Region 1 finals.

All-Time Tournament:
Merrimack has earned 13 bids to the NCAA Tournament in program history. The Warriors captured the 1994 NCAA Division II National Championship, defeating Humboldt St. 6-2 in the title game, capping off a 45-4 season. Merrimack owns a 37-24 all-time record in NCAA Tournament action.

Last Time Out [So. Connecticut 7:1, Merrimack 6:2 - East Region 1 finals]:
The Warriors bounced back after suffering a heartbreaking 7-6 loss in game one of the East Region 1 finals of the NCAA Tournament to claim a 2-1 victory in game two. Tawny Palmieri went 5-for-7 from the plate on the final day with four runs batted in and two runs scored. 

All-Conference Accolades:
Sophomore Kelli Jo Deardorff headlined Merrimack's Northeast-10 All-Conference selections as she was tabbed the Pitcher of the Year. Monique Gosselin, Tawny Palmieri, Jaclyn Giovannini and Deardorff all earned a spot on the All-Conference first team. Keaira Perry and Giovannini were named to the All-Rookie squad. Deardorff and Gosselin were also honored on the Northeast-10 All-Championship team.

Gosselin Goes Yard:
Junior centerfielder Monique Gosselin has blasted 16 home runs this season. The program record for home runs hit in a single season is 18, set by Stacey Dell'Anno in 1999. Gosselin ranks first among the Northeast-10 in four-baggers and 11th in the nation. Gosselin is also second in slugging percentage in the league with a .734 mark.

Transistioning Well:
In her first year with the team after transfering from the University of Massachusetts, Tawny Palmieri leads the team with a .406 batting average and ranks sixth in the conference. She also ranks fourth in the league in assists with 121 assists from the hot corner. This spring Palmieri has started all 52 contests and has driven in 33 runs.

Pitching Prowess:
Sophomore Kelli Jo Deardorff owns 23 victories this season. She also ranks third in the conference in opponent's batting average as batters are hitting just .209 against her. Deardorff's 215.2 innings pitched this year are good for third in the conference.

Gotchya:
Senior catcher Kara Melillo has gunned down 15 would-be base-stealers this spring. Melillo leads the conference in the category.

Familiar Foes:
Merrimack has faced six of the 64 teams in the 2011 field this year. The Warriors own a 9-11 record against those squads this spring. Merrimack has defeated Dowling, Augustana (S.D.), Southern Connecticut State four times and New Haven three times. The Warriors dropped decisions to Rollins, Dowling, C.W. Post and Southern Connecticut.

2011 Captains:
Four players were named team captains prior to the start of the season. Seniors Kristen LeMay, Kara Melillo, Jamie Millett and junior Monique Gosselin were all selected to lead the team. LeMay is a shortstop from Shrewsbury, Mass. and has been a member of the team for four years. Kara Melillo is a native of North Andover, Mass. and owned the catching duties in her fourth season with the team. Millett is a product of Hudson, Mass. and has played in the outfield for the entirety of her four year career. In her third year, Gosselin is the Warriors' centerfielder and hails from Lawrence, Mass.

Preseason Prognositications:
Merrimack was tabbed to finish ninth among the 16 teams in the Northeast-10 Conference. The Warriors closed out the season in a four-way tie for second place and earned the No. 3 seed in the postseason tournament.

Merrimack Head Coach Elaine Schwager: 
In her sixth season, head coach Elaine Schwager has compiled a record of 123-121. Under Schwager, Merrimack has appeared in the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament three times. In 2011, the Warriors reached the finals of the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament and claimed the East Region 1 title.

Follow from Home:
Live stats will be available for every contest of the NCAA East Super Regional, provided by C.W. Post Athletics.