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GROTON — After quietly making history by becoming the first softball team in school history to make it to the Districts in three consecutive seasons, Groton-Dunstable wants to set a new precedent, to win a post-season game. It would be a milestone no other softball squad has ever reached at Groton-Dunstable. Armed with talent and a dynamic pitching duo of Kerry Alcott and Jess O’Sullivan, the Lady Crusaders believe that they are ready to take the next step.

“Our goal is to win a game in Districts,” said Groton-Dunstable softball coach Asadoorian. “However, there is no guarantee that we will make Districts this year. “We have an extremely difficult schedule this year, and we have little room for error.”

The Lady Crusaders return most of their starters, only graduating three players from last year’s district team. They are led by a trio of senior captains, Breezy Riposa, Stephanie Dodson, and Alcott.

“Breezy will be our second basemen, where she has started all four years and has great range fielding the ball.” said Asadoorian. “She is an exceptional leader, and she brings it on a daily basis, and is not afraid to get dirty. Stephanie will be our centerfielder. She has a wealth of experience, has solid speed and is a good bunter. She also has a great understanding of the game, and the small aspects of playing centerfield, such as knowing the proper angles to take to get to the ball. She will hit second for us this year.”

Also returning as starters for the Crusaders are two talented sophomores, Meghan McLean and Kate Stowell, along with a returning senior, Allison Cocciola.

“Kate is our returning catcher.” said Asadoorian. “She has a strong arm from behind the plate and a good sense of the game. She has great power hitting, and she really has worked to improve her bat speed. Meg started in right field and hit leadoff for us last year, and will again this year. She has great speed, is a great bunter, and is really good at slapping the ball the other way. On occasion she can hit for power, too. Al is a shortstop who brings experience at the position, and is a solid contact hitter. She has strong fielding skills as well.”

Returning senior Mary Nojeim also is looking to nab some time in left field, where there is a competition from junior Mary Killian and sophomore Al Kessler.

“Mary Nojeim is a returning senior, with a good sense of the game,” said Asadoorian. “She is versatile, and is an extremely strong backup catcher. Mary Killian has good speed, a strong arm, and is improving rapidly at the plate. Al is athletic, has strong fundamental skills and is really willing to learn.”

Kiersten Bieren and Jackie Ordemann are two new faces to the varsity program, up from the junior varsity team, and both see lots of time.

“Kiersten is a first baseman with a good sense of the game and a good skill set,” said Asasoorian. “She is coachable, and I foresee rapid improvement in her game throughout the year. Jackie is someone who has really stepped up in the competition for third base. She has a ‘go-get-em’ attitude, is aggressive and unafraid. She is coachable, a quick learner and is making solid contact in all her at bats thus far.”

The pitching duo of Alcott and O’Sullivan really has Asadoorian excited.

“They are both intense competitors,” he said. “They embody what a pitcher has to have. They have two of the best bats on the team, and both hit for power and average. They will also hit back to back. Kerry will play shortstop or first when she is not pitching, and Jess will play first when she is not pitching.”

Kylie Blodgett is a returning starter for the Lady Crusaders, but will miss the bulk of the season recovering from a surgery.

“Kylie is a great athlete,” said Asadoorian. “She is going to compete for a starting job when she gets healthy.”

Impeding the the Lady Crusaders route to a District win is one of their most grueling schedules. This year they have added Division 2 stalwart Notre Dame Academy, along with Division 1 power Leominster. Couple that with their normal slate of Mid-Wach B competition, and you have a Division 2 school only facing seven other Division 2 schools in a 20-game schedule.

Coach Asadoorian is looking at this demanding schedule as a positive for the team, though.

“Our tough schedule will provide good tests for us, and will ultimately help prepare us for District play,” he said. “This team has a real positive energy, and we are blessed with girls who want to be out there, work hard, and they all have the skills. I have really love how we are coming together.”