The 2016 spring postseason begins this week, as the Ashland University softball team will compete in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament as the No. 5 seed.
That is just a part of another big and busy Eagle athletics week, one that includes the women's golf team's potential of reaching the NCAA postseason, baseball's quest for a second straight GLIAC South Division title, the track and field program's lone home meet of the school year and the inaugural ASHPY awards.
SOFTBALL – The Eagles (25-21-1) will make their 15th GLIAC Tournament appearance this weekend, and will begin first-round play against No. 4 seed Ferris State (34-16) at 10 a.m. on Friday (April 29) in Findlay, Ohio. The championship game(s) will be Sunday (May 1).
Ashland has had a streaky season, starting 3-2 in Illinois, then going 7-11 in the next 18 games, then putting together a 12-3-1 stretch, then losing five of six before sweeping Northwood on the road to end the regular season.
Senior first baseman Jen Moore is fifth in the GLIAC in slugging percentage (.585) and fifth in RBIs (37), sophomore third baseman Marissa Caraballo is tied for fifth in doubles (12), both Caraballo and senior catcher Bri Buckley are tied for fourth in triples (four) and junior shortstop Alexis Van Horn is tied for fifth in home runs (six). Senior Sarah Alley also is among the top pitchers in the conference in wins (tied for second, 15).
WOMEN'S GOLF – Ashland will find out on Monday (April 25) afternoon if it will qualify for the NCAA Division East Super Regional. The Eagles were sixth in the latest super region rankings on Thursday (April 21), and 12 teams and six individuals not on those teams will qualify.
The East Super Regional is May 2-4 at Panther Creek Country Club in Springfield, Ill.
The Eagles are coming off a third-place finish at the 2016 GLIAC Championship, and senior Ali Green is coming off a conference medalist finish and a career-best round of five-under 67 on Sunday (April 24).
BASEBALL – The GLIAC South Division race more or less is down to two teams, and those two teams will play each other on Saturday (April 30) and Sunday at Donges Field.
Ashland (25-14 overall, 16-4 GLIAC, 12-2 South) leads the division by a game over Malone (23-16/15-7/12-4), and the Eagles and Pioneers will play a key four-game set over the weekend at the corner of Katherine Avenue and Park Street. Ashland has won 11 of its last 14 games, while Malone is coming off a four-game home sweep of Tiffin.
Prior to that series, the Eagles will play a single nine-inning non-conference game on Tuesday (April 26) at Cedarville.
TRACK AND FIELD – The seventh Ashland Alumni Open will take place Friday and Saturday at the Ferguson Field complex. The men's and women's hammer throwers will take center stage on Friday, with all other events going on Saturday.
Senior Jamie Sindelar still boasts the top women's shot put distance in Division II (16.47 meters), and three of the top six D-II men's hammer throwers are Eagles – juniors Jordan Crayon (third, 66.88) and Bryn Campbell (fourth, 65.48) and sophomore Clayton Jury (sixth, 63.36).
The Ashland Alumni Open is the Eagles' final meet prior to the 2016 GLIAC Championship, May 4-6 in Big Rapids, Mich.
THE ASHPY'S – The inaugural ASHPY awards, presented by AU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, are Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in the Upper Convocation Center.
All proceeds from the ASHPY's will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Students are encouraged to bring donations for admittance. Single admission for non-AU students will be $5, and a table of 10 can be bought, as well.
Non-AU students will need to RSVP by Wednesday (April 27) to Rachel O'Connor, AU Director of Sports Marketing and Promotions, at 419-289-5442 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2015-16 goal for AU SAAC is to raise at least $5,000 for Make-A-Wish.
For the composite Ashland University athletics schedule, go to http://www.goashlandeagles.com/composite.