RUTHERFORD, N.J. – After winning its final seven conference games, the Felician College softball team has qualified for the 2012 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament as the No. 7 seed. Felician will take on No. 2 seed Caldwell College when the tournament begins on Thursday at 10 a.m. in Lakewood, N.J.
Guided by second-year head coach Lori Kwiatkowski, Felician (16-32, 13-13) is making its second consecutive playoff appearance and seventh overall. The Golden Falcons are seeking their first conference championship. Felician, which started off 2-10 in conference play, was one of four teams to end up 13-13, and finished second among those teams in the head-to-head tiebreaker with three spots available.
The CACC Softball Tournament is an eight-team, double-elimination event. It will be played on two fields over three days on the campus of predetermined host and No. 3 seed Georgian Court University. Felician will play again on Thursday at 4 p.m. with a victory over Caldwell, and at 2 p.m. should it lose to the Cougars. The tournament schedule can be viewed at http://www.caccathletics.org/sports/sball/2011-12/releases/2012SoftballPreview.
Second-Team All-CACC selection Kristen Tenwolde (Ramona, CA/Ramona) has provided stability to the Golden Falcon pitching staff, starting at least once in every doubleheader. With nine wins and a 3.64 ERA, she has set school records for starts, complete games and innings. A pair of freshmen tops the offense. First-baseman Ciera Clark (Granite Bay, CA/Del Oro) is hitting .323 with five home runs and a school-record 33 RBI, while designated player Taylor Parker (Surrey, B.C./Semiahmoo) is at .308 with a homer, 18 runs and 17 RBI.
Caldwell (37-12, 21-5) is ranked No. 5 in the most recent NCAA Division II East Regional Poll. The Cougars put seven players on the All-CACC teams, including league Rookie of the Year Brianna Gaspich (Brick, NJ/Brick Memorial). Freshmen Gaspich (.429, 9 HR, 58 RBI) and Kristen Knorr (Monroeville, NJ/Delsea) (.453, 7 HR, 36 RBI) lead Caldwell on offense, and junior Kourtney Wilson (Islip, NY/St. Anthony's) (16-5, 2.91) has been the top pitcher.
The Cougars swept the regular-season meetings between the teams, 9-2 and 3-2, on Mar. 23, in Caldwell, N.J.
Directions to Georgian Court are available at http://www.gculions.com/sports/2009/8/28/gcudirections.aspx. Ticket prices for each day of competition are $6 for adults and $3 for children, students (with ID) and senior citizens. Children age three years and under will be admitted free.
The winner of the 2012 CACC Tournament receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Division II East Regional.