Lancers tourney ready; Early wake-up calls worth it.
"We have to practice some time,'' said Pelletier, who took the early wake-ups in stride.
The Lancers canceled 10 outdoor practices before they left for Florida in mid-March, and there was still snow on the ground when they returned at the end of the month. They practiced inside at Hit Quarters in Shrewsbury, which was obviously accommodating a number of other area teams that were facing the same weather-related obstacles.
"It was definitely hard with the snow,'' senior Katie Storro said, "but we didn't let it affect us. It made us play harder.''
The Lancers, who last weekend wrapped up a stretch of 20 games in 14 days, captured the regular-season MASCAC title for the second time in four years by sweeping a doubleheader from MCLA on Saturday. Worcester State (21-13, 11-3) earned the top seed in this week's MASCAC Tournament and will host the Salem State-Westfield State winner at 4 p.m. Friday at Rockwood Park.
"This team has definitely exceeded my expectations with all the adversity we had this year,'' second-year WSU coach Michelle Cote said. "And we're still a very young team, that's what's really exciting. We're so young and we keep getting better and better.''
Cote was an assistant on the 2011 Worcester State team that won the MASCAC tourney and claimed the program's second NCAA Division 3 Tournament bid.
Getting back to the NCAAs is the ultimate goal of this year's Lancers squad, especially the team's three seniors, Storro, Alyssa Hill and Taylor Hanley.
"We want to keep it going to have a chance at the NCAAs,'' said Storro, a four-year starter who was a major contributor when the Lancers won the regular-season conference crown in 2012. "We will need a team effort, and I'm really excited to have a chance to go to NCAAs, especially in my last year.''
Storro and Pelletier, former Leominster High teammates, have keyed the top of Worcester State's lineup. From the leadoff spot, Pelletier, the starting left fielder, is batting .319 and had four hits and scored three runs in the two wins over MCLA. Storro, the No. 2 batter who moved from the outfield to second base last season, is hitting .322 and leads the team with six sacrifice bunts. The Lancers scored in the first inning in four of their last five conference wins.
Cote said Pelletier has taken on a leadership role this season.
"She makes everyone so excited to play the game,'' Storro said. "I'm definitely happy to have the chance to play with her again.''
Junior pitcher Meghan Rich (15-2, 10-1) has been outstanding. She led the MASCAC in wins and ERA (1.53) and was named the MASCAC Pitcher of the Week after going 5-1, throwing four shutouts and posting a 0.88 ERA.
"She's been phenomenal,'' Cote said. "She's been able to handle every team. She's not overpowering, but she has incredible movement and can change her speed so much, she frustrates really good batters.''
The Lancers beat every team in the MASCAC tourney at least once during the regular season.
"We have to play our best,'' Pelletier said. "We can't go into any game thinking, 'We beat them before, we can do it again.' We can't let up at any time.''
Another honor for Lirange
Gina Lirange of Auburn was named Bentley's Outstanding Senior Female Athlete during Monday night's Division of Student Affairs awards program.
It is a most deserving honor for Lirange, who had four outstanding years at Bentley and was a two-year captain of the field hockey team.
Lirange, an All-American selection in 2014, led the Falcons in scoring each of the last two years. She played in every game her four seasons and finished with 33 goals and 15 assists. Lirange was twice selected to the All-Northeast-10 Conference first team.
Lirange, an accounting major who carries a 3.8 grade point average, has been an All-NE-10 Academic honoree for three straight years.
Rowing on Quinsigamond
The New England Rowing Championships will be held on Lake Quinsigamond Saturday.
Heats begin at 8 a.m., and racing concludes with the men's varsity eight grand final at 6:20 p.m.
Local entrants include the WPI men and women, the Clark men and women and the Assumption women.
Williams captured last year's men's varsity eight grand final, finishing one spot ahead of WPI. Trinity took the women's varsity eight grand final. Boston College won the men's point trophy. Trinity won the women's point trophy and finished first in the combined team point standings.
Contact Jennifer Toland
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|Publication:||Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)|
|Date:||Apr 29, 2015|
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