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ND Softball: Team looks to pick up more wins at Cavalier Invitational

Megan Finneran | Friday, February 26, 2010

Last weekend the Irish swept the Southern Miss Mizuno Classic, and this weekend they are looking to do the exact same thing at Virginia’s Cavalier Invitational. 

“Obviously this weekend in Virginia our team is looking to pick up four more wins. This season our focus has been to take each game one at a time and approach it as if it is the most crucial game of the season,” junior pitcher Jody Valdivia said. “We are looking to take Notre Dame softball further than it has ever gotten in the past and our approach is to take it game by game.”

The Irish (4-4) look to Valdivia, whose contribution to the tournament secured her the title of Big East Pitcher of the week, to add leadership from the mound. Leading the team at the plate are Notre Dame’s three seniors: catcher Alexia Clay, infielder Heather Johnson and first basemen Christine Lux.

“We just need to put the ball hard on the ground to make things happen,” Johnson said.
Losing five seniors at the end of the 2009 season forced the Irish to make some alterations, but a strong group of freshmen filled in the ranks. Although this team is a young one, it does not lacking skill or unity.

“This year, as opposed to the past, I feel the entire team has bonded together more so than individual people,” Valdivia said.

With two tournaments already under their belt, the Irish will have the experience advantage over opponents George Washington, who will play for the first time this weekend, and Virginia (2-5).

“I think this weekend we are striving to get that game where we are running on all cylinders. We need to have pitching, defense and hitting to all,” Johnson said.

This weekend’s tournament was initially planned for Charlottesville, Va., but weather caused a transfer to Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va.

The Irish face George Washington at 11:30 a.m. and Virginia at 2 p.m. Friday, followed by George Washington at 10 a.m. and Virginia at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Depending on these outcomes, the Irish may play one or two games Sunday.