ALBANY, N.Y. — Coming off back-to-back America East Championships and consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament, Head Coach Chris Cannata has her team ready to build off last year’s extraordinary 32-win season. The Great Danes are set to begin a new season on Friday, February 22 at the Madeira Beach Softball Invitational in Madeira, Fla.
The Great Danes have their sights set on returning to Championship Sunday in May, as the squad looks to capture a program best third-straight America East title.
UAlbany finished the 2018 season with an overall record of 32-16 and a trip to the NCAA Regionals. Cannata was tabbed the America East Coach of the Year after leading the women in purple to a 17-5 clip in conference play and the regular season title.
The Great Danes return an impactful group of players to the diamond, including eight of their nine America East All-Conference honorees. The 2018 America East Pitcher of the Year Celeste Verdolivo, who boasted a 2.07 ERA, paced the America East with 16 wins. A 2018 All-Conference First Team selection, Verdolivo heads into her season year looking to add to her career 38 wins and 3.35 ERA.
Also returning to the line up is catcher Chelsea Henige and third baseman McKenzie Bump. Henige led the team with a .358 batting average, a .604 slugging percentage and an .448 on base percentage, while Bump will look to cause havoc on the bases once against after leading the team with 13 stolen bases and a second-best 28 runs scored.
The Great Danes head south to the sunshine day for opening weekend. UAlbany has five games on the docket, beginning with a double header on Friday, February 22 against North Florida (11 a.m.) and South Dakota (1:30 p.m.).
The squad will return to action against Purdue (11 a.m.) and Georgetown (1:30 p.m.) on Saturday, before wrapping up the tournament with a single game against Middle Tennessee (9 a.m.) on Sunday.