NORTON, Mass. - In between games of Saturday's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) doubleheader against Smith College at Clark Field, the Wheaton College Department of Athletics will recognize the 10-year anniversary of the 2001 softball team that finished third in the country at the NCAA Tournament College World Series.
The softball program will also hold its third annual Cans for Cancer bottle and can drive, an event intended to support former player and cancer survivor Kate Pinzino '02 and others currently fighting the disease. Fans who bring a large bag of bottles and cans or make a donation in support of Kate will receive a free lunch. All patrons are encouraged to dress in blue. Pinzino played in 87 games for the Lyons between 1999 and 2002.
The ceremony commemorating the 2001 team will be facilitated by Executive Director of Athletics Chad Yowell, Associate Director of Athletics John Sutyak '00 and Senior Woman Administrator Rebecca Begley.
Under 19-year head coach Gina Loudenburg, the 2001 squad not only qualified for its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in five years but also placed third in all of Division III for the second time, joining the 1997 team. In 2001, Wheaton went 42-9 overall and 15-1 in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). The 42 wins rank second in program annals, while the team's 15 conference victories remain a school best.
With a 32-6 regular season record, the Lyons ripped through the NEWMAC Tournament with four straight victories as hosts, outscoring the opposition by a 27-3 count while posting three shutouts. At the NCAA regional tourney hosted by Bridgewater State University, Wheaton knocked off Tufts University in extra innings before playing the host Bears three straight times. The teams were on opposite ends of 2-1 finals leading up to the regional championship game, which the Lyons won 3-0.
During the NCAA Tournament College World Series in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Wheaton dropped a first-round game to Saint Mary's University of Minnesota before winning three straight contests to come out of the loser's bracket and into the national semifinal round. The Lyons defeated William Paterson University in extra innings, Roanoke College and Saint Mary's in a rematch before falling to Central College.