Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

SOFTBALL | Hoyas Kick Off at Elon

The Georgetown softball team will start its season this weekend in Elon, N.C., playing four games at the Elon Tournament. After a disappointing 2011 season in which the team went 13-40, finished 10th in the Big East and failed to make the tournament, the Hoyas hope to start the 2012 season off on a better foot.

The Blue and Gray were able to consistently improve throughout last season, however.

“We’re executing better, [and] we’re more efficient in practice,” Head Coach Pat Conlan said.

Georgetown will start the tournament against Liberty, which is coming off a successful season that resulted in a second-place regular-season finish and Big South tournament championship. The Flames are an offensive powerhouse that led the Big South conference in all eight major offensive categories in the 2011 season.

Georgetown faces Liberty twice in the tournament and will need to play two all-around solid games against the Flames to counteract the opponent’s offensive firepower. Defensively, the Hoyas need to cut down on errors, a problem that plagued them all of last year.

The Hoyas will then take on tournament host Elon for the first time ever. The Phoenix are bringing in as many new players as they are returning, creating a young team that may still need time to gel. The youth of the Elon team might make the team prone to mistakes, something the Hoyas need to capitalize on in order to win.

Senior pitcher Mackensey Carter, who finished the season hitting .259 and pitched a team-high 176.1 innings, will look to lead the Hoyas again this season. Georgetown will also rely on the bats of senior infielder Cara Savarese and junior catcher Shikara Lowe.

“We’ve got a great senior leader in [Carter],” Conlan said.

The Hoyas will also face off against North Carolina Central, a team that finished the 2011 season at a lowly 7-37. Although NCCU should be an easy win for the Hoyas in theory, the Blue and Gray are all too familiar with dropping games to unexpected teams.

“Traditionally they’re pretty scrappy teams. They have solid pitching, [and] they can put a few runs across the board,” Conlan said. “The more important thing is how we’re focusing on things we’re doing well.”

The Hoyas return three star offensive upperclassman, but they also bring back a strong sophomore class that made an impact its freshman year. The Hoyas’ new freshman class of five players will hopefully add more depth to the roster. After a strong start to her freshman season, sophomore shortstop Allie Antilla is back from a midseason injury last year. The Hoyas lost then-freshman Jenna Stark — perhaps their strongest offensive player — to Texas A&M, as well as pitcher Melissa Connors, who played significant time for the Hoyas last season. Sophomores such as pitcher Hannah Slovacek are now being called on to fill the void left by last year’s exits.

“[Hannah] has shown tremendous improvement this year, and we’ve got two freshmen who can throw the ball,” Conlan said. “So I’m pretty excited [about] our depth.”

The Hoyas’ first game against Liberty is tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.

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