#2 Stonehill To Take On #3 Southern Connecticut Thursday In NE-10 Second Round Matchup

Junior Sarah Ropiak will look to lead Stonehill into the NE-10 Tournament semifinals for the first time in program history.

Skyhawks back in NE-10 Tournament for first time since 2013

EASTON, Mass. (April 29, 2015) – Second-seeded Stonehill College makes its return to the Northeast-10 Conference Softball Tournament tomorrow afternoon with a second round matchup against third-seeded Southern Connecticut State University on the campus of host school and top-seeded Southern New Hampshire University at 4:30 p.m.

Admission for tomorrow's game at Penmen Field will be $6 for adults, $4 for children and senior citizens and $1 for students with a valid ID from a participating school. Live stats and video streaming for all tournament games will be available at www.snhupenmen.com.

Stonehill (20-14, 13-8 NE-10), which earned a first round bye with its second-place finish in the NE-10 Northeast Division, will be making its fifth appearance all-time in the NE-10 Tournament and first since 2013. The Skyhawks are 1-5 in their five trips and have never advanced past the second round, with their only win coming in a first round matchup against Saint Anselm College two years ago.

Southern Connecticut (19-16, 11-8 NE-10), the third seed from the NE-10 Southwest Division, advanced to tomorrow's contest with a 5-3 first round victory over fourth-seeded Le Moyne College yesterday. The Owls are making their tenth appearance in the NE-10 Tournament and own the second-highest winning percentage (.629) all-time in tournament play with a record of 22-13. Southern Connecticut has reached the final on three occasions and captured back-to-back championships in 2010 and 2011.

Stonehill and Southern Connecticut have one prior meeting in the NE-10 Tournament, with the top-seeded and two-time defending champion Owls posting a 4-3, ten-inning victory in the first round in 2012. The winner of tomorrow afternoon's matchup will advance to Friday's semifinal to take on Southwest Division top seed Adelphi University at 2 p.m. Southern New Hampshire awaits the winner of tomorrow's other second round contest between No. 4 Saint Anselm and No. 2 Pace University. The two semifinal winners will meet in Saturday's championship contest at 1 p.m.

Sixth-year head coach Ken LeGrice has led the Skyhawks to four appearances in the NE-10 Tournament.

Stonehill will be making its fourth NE-10 Tournament appearance under sixth-year head coach Ken LeGrice, who took over the program in 2010. LeGrice led the Skyhawks to the postseason in his first year at the helm, and also guided the program to consecutive appearances in 2012 and 2013. He owns a career record of 127-126-2 (.502), including 89-77-1 (.536) in conference play.

Stonehill enters tomorrow's action having won six of its last eight games over the final week of the regular season, including four consecutive shutout victories to start the week and five overall. The Skyhawks went 14-8 in the month of April after posting a 6-6 record during their season-opening trip down in Florida.

All-NE-10 third team selection Sarah Ropiak (Acton, Massachusetts/Acton-Boxborough) anchors Stonehill's pitching staff, which ranked second in the conference with a 2.58 team earned run average during the regular season. Ropiak went 11-8 in the circle this spring with a 1.73 ERA (third in the NE-10), recording 65 strikeouts and holding opponents to a .211 batting average in a team-high 109.1 innings of work. The junior went the distance in 12 of her 16 starts, posting six shutouts.

Classmate Megan Ruonavaara (Rocky Hill, Connecticut/Rocky Hill) has made 14 appearances and ten starts for the Skyhawks, compiling a record of 7-2 and a 2.33 ERA in 69.0 frames.

The Stonehill offense is powered by junior catcher Megan Staudle (New Windsor, New York/Cornwall Central), a two-time All-NE-10 selection. Staudle led the Skyhawks during the regular season with a .327 batting average (33-for-101) to go with five doubles, three triples, three home runs and 15 RBI. She also scored a team-best 24 runs, stole three bases and was hit by 14 pitches, which led the NE-10.

Sophomore Cassandra Squeri (New Providence, New Jersey/New Providence) is hitting .309 with seven doubles, 11 walks (1st on team) and 17 RBI, while classmate Michelle Carbone (Deer Park, New York/St. Anthony's) checks in at .307 with a team-leading three home runs, 11 doubles and 23 RBI.

Southern Connecticut landed a pair of All-Conference selections in senior shortstop Nicole Buch (Darien, Connecticut/Darien) and sophomore second baseman Giuliana D'Arcangelo (Brookfield, Connecticut/Brookfield), both of whom were named to the third team along with Ropiak. Buch led the Owls and ranked eighth in the NE-10 during the regular season with a .400 batting average, while also recording a conference-leading 28 walks, six doubles and 14 RBI. D'Arcangelo is hitting .311 with nine doubles and 19 RBI, while junior Leanna Feerick (Maybrook, New York/Valley Central) has drawn 13 walks and driven in a team-high 22 runs.

Junior Megan Staudle leads the Stonehill offense with a .327 batting average, three home runs and 15 RBI.

Junior Kelsey Cockrill (Haymarket, Virginia/Stonewall Jackson) went 11-9 in the circle for the Owls during the regular season, posting a 3.15 ERA with 108 strikeouts (4th in NE-10) in 129 innings of work. Classmate Jessica Van Alphen (Hudson, New York/Ichabod Crane) is 8-7 in 15 starts with a 3.56 ERA in 90.1 frames.

2015 Northeast-10 Conference Softball Tournament

Tuesday, April 28 - First Round
Game 1:  #4 Saint Anselm 3, #3 Assumption 0
Game 2:  #3 So. Connecticut 5, #4 Le Moyne 3

CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND (hosted by So. New Hampshire)
Thursday, April 30 - Second Round

Game 3:  #4 Saint Anselm vs #2 SW Pace – 2 p.m.
Game 4:  #3 So. Connecticut vs. #2 NE Stonehill – 4:30 p.m.

Friday, May 1 - Semifinals
Game 5:  Game 3 winner vs. #1 NE So. New Hampshire – 2 p.m.
Game 6:  Game 4 winner vs. #1 SW Adelphi – 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 2 - Finals
Game 7: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner – 1 p.m.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks mobile app on iTunes and the Android Market.