The two western MAAC schools will meet each other a couple times this September as classes begin and the new softball season gets underway. The Golden Griffins and Purple Eagles will meet twice (maybe three times)---first at the annual Nan Harvey Tournament in Amherst, NY on the weekend of September 18, then at the University at Buffalo (in a round robin) on September 26.
Both teams will have a strong senior class in 2011. Niagara will rely on 2010 MAAC Player Of The Year Teresa Healey (pictured), Kristin Sito, Kayla Hines and Maggie McDonald to lead them to the title they want badly. All-MAAC honorees Paige Freiberger, Lauren Hope and Emily Helbig front the Griffs who will have ten upperclassmen on the 2011 team. And I should mention here that we will be following Lauren Hope as she attempts to break the MAAC career stolen bases record which is currently held by Ellen Sarosy who stole 112 bases during her career at Fairfield. Lauren will begin the 2011 season with 94 stolen bases.
Of course, fall ball is also freshman watch time. Niagara will be breaking in three new pitchers who will back up junior Julie Dimatteo. Tashia Daley, Kim Bryson and Bri Allen will see plenty of action I'm sure. Canisus will bring in first baseman Valorie Nappo who hit .333 at the recent ESPN Rise National Championships with the Jersey Intensity.
If you're in the area make sure to go watch the MAAC schools in nice warm weather. Won't be so warm next April!