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Softball faces Georgia Southern

Chris Ford / Reporter

The Elon Phoenix softball team looks to get back on track after losing 4-1 to the Furman Lady Paladins last Saturday.  The team currently has a 19-17 record and has been struggling lately, posting a 2-8 mark in the last 10 games.

The team's next Southern Conference test will be Georgia Southern.

Many players believe this series to be of the utmost importance to the team's success for the rest of the year.

"We feel that if we rest for the next few days, we will come out strong against Georgia Southern," pitcher Samantha Schroeder, sophomore, said.  "If we win the Georgia Southern games, I think that success will carry us for the rest of the season."

Winning the Georgia Southern series will be no easy task for the Phoenix. Georgia Southern star and SoCon Player of the Week,  Shanita Black, comes into the series with a 30-game hit streak.

Black ranks fifth in the conference in batting average at .399, first in runs scored with 50, and first in hits, with 67.  She is also tied for first in stolen bases, with 24.

Black won't be the only player the Phoenix need to worry about.

Georgia Southern's pitching staff is a formidable opponent.

Pitcher Melissa Laliberte ranks third in the Southern Conference in earned run average with an ERA of 2.18, followed closely by her teammate, Mandi Stophlet, who ranks fifth with 2.44.

Laliberte also ranks second in opposing batters' average with .201 and fifth in strikeouts with 100.

If the Phoenix are to win, it will take an entire team effort.

"We are going to need all 17 of us to finish strong," Schroeder said.

Despite the team's current struggles, head coach Patti Raduenz is optimistic about the rest of this season.

"I'm not very worried about our record right now," Raduenz said.  "You have to play the best to be the best, so I think if we play well and we execute like we need to, than we will do well. Other teams should underestimate us, because we haven't shown them what we are capable of."

Contact Chris Ford at pendulum@elon.edu or 278-7247.

Matt Gannon / Photo Editor

Junior Rebecca Rijavec beats out the throw to first during the weekend series against Furman.