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Moon Township, PA - As the only undefeated team remaining in the field the SHU softball team walked away as the 2011 Northeast Conference tournament champions, after inclement weather cancelled the final day of the event. The Pioneers led #3 Quinnipiac 3-2 in the fourth inning before play was halted Saturday night. If action had resumed on Sunday Sacred Heart would have had two chances to defeat the Bobcats to earn the title the traditional way. SHU had already defeated Quinnipiac earlier in the tournament, 4-3.
The tournament awards ceremony was held after the official decision was made to end the tournament and even the weather could not prevent the Pioneers' celebration. Four SHU players were named to the 2011 all-tournament team, including Jen Russell (Seymour, CT) who also earned her second tournament MVP honor. Russell went 2-0 in the pitching circle with a 2.00 ERA, tossing two complete games. Shannon McCoy (Yorba Linda, CA) went 4-for-4 in what proved to be the championship game against Robert Morris to secure her spot on the all-tournament squad.
Taylor Froelich (Garden Grove, CA), the NEC player of the year, slashed four hits overall, including a leadoff double in SHU's first at bat of the tournament. Nicole Sidor (West Vancouver, BC) rounded out the Pioneer contingent on the all-tournament team, notching a team leading four RBIs and cutting down a runner a the plate from right field in the opening game.
2011 Northeast Conference All-Tournament Team
Jen Russell - Sacred Heart (MVP)
Taylor Froelich - Sacred Heart
Shannon McCoy - Sacred Heart
Nicole Sidor - Sacred Heart
Mina Duffy - Quinnipiac
Jordan Paolucci - Quinnipiac
Alexa Bryson - Robert Morris
Allie Patton - Robert Morris
Liz Montemurro - Central Conn. St.
Sacred Heart (29-19) will advance to the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years, with the selection show that determines the Pioneers destination airing tonight at 10:00 pm.
Six Pioneers celebrated their graduation from Sacred Heart University as well as a Northeast Conference championship, walking onto the field in their cap and gowns during the awards ceremony. Froelich, Russell, McCoy, Courtney Lee (Camarillo, CA), Jasmin Vicente (Wantagh, NY), and Kylie Abrams (Thousand Oaks, CA) will leave SHU at the conclusion of the season with degrees in hand.