NEWS, NOTES &
The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
By Bethany Bradsher
Ladies on the move on multiple
All rights reserved.
When Kyle Roller was named the National Player of the Week by the National
Collegiate Baseball Writers Association on Tuesday, he helped elevate the
profile and the opportunity of every East Carolina athlete. But for the
women participating in Pirate sports, Toni Paisley’s impact might be even
If this is the year of female athletes at ECU, Paisley has to be the face of
their progress. A redshirt sophomore, Paisley has just been named Conference
USA Pitcher of the Week for the fourth time, and nearly half of the season
Just last week, Paisley gave up only three hits in ECU’s 5-0 win over N.C.
State and picked up two wins in the Pirates’ road sweep of UAB.
Her accomplishments should encourage anyone who has followed collegiate
women’s athletics over the past three decades. Since Title IX was passed in
1972 in an effort to level the playing field, participation and funding for
women’s teams has steadily increased.
More recently, ECU officials drafted a gender equity plan to address any
lingering inequality between men’s and women’s sports.
Because of those national and local measures, Lady Pirates are the
benefactors of more opportunities than the competitors who have gone before
While researching an article I wrote for the spring issue of “East”
Magazine, I found that this fall every ECU sport will be “fully funded,” or
using every scholarship allotted to them by the NCAA.
Achieving full funding for every ECU sport was one of Terry Holland’s major
goals when he took over the athletic program five years ago. With that
accomplished, he has turned some of his focus to the disparity in
A new softball stadium and new venues for tennis and track and field are
part of an Olympic sports expansion plan that will begin in June.
So what are the women’s teams doing with such a feast of opportunities? A
few snapshots from this spring so far:
••••• Coming off a
third-place finish at the UNCW Seahawk Invitational, the women’s golf team
is still seeking consistency but has plenty of talent, head coach Kevin
Williams said. The standout performer for the team so far has been junior
Ana Maria Puche, who was named the C-USA Golfer of the Week after claiming
second place in the JMU Eagle Landing Invitational.
Puche’s emergence is
encouraging for Williams because he has known she had the ability to rise to
the top, but this season her confidence seems to have caught up to her
“I really feel like she’s
turned the corner,” Williams said. “We really felt like Annie was an
••••• The women’s track
team opened its outdoor season this weekend at Wake Forest, and the field
event specialists competed at Coastal Carolina. Several Lady Pirates shined
in their events at the two meets. At Coastal Carolina, senior Danielle Eiler
took second place in the discus and freshman Nicole Tozzi finished second in
the javelin. At Wake Forest, in a field of 40 teams, freshman Funsha Jackson
finished sixth in the prelims of the 100-meter dash to qualify for the
finals and finished 12th overall in the event. Another freshman, Tara
Wilson, finished sixth in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 10:27.54.
••••• The softball team
isn’t coasting on Paisley’s coattails. The whole team is playing at the top
of its game right now, coming off a sweep of UAB on the road and heading
into a Wednesday doubleheader at UNC-Wilmington. Other key players include
senior Jessica Johnson, who is batting .561 with 28 hits and 17 RBI's and
junior Cristen Aona, who drove in key runs in two of the UAB victories.
“I think that everyone’s
just really trying to better themselves,” said junior Charina Sumner of her
team’s 19-9 start and 6-3 mark in C-USA. “We also have a lot of
upperclassmen, so we have lots of experience.”
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03/25/2009 01:26:32 AM