Ludlowe softball preview

In 2011, the Fairfield Ludlowe softball team shocked the FCIAC.

In 2012, the Falcons will aim to stay in the league's upper echelon.

Ludlowe graduated just two from the team that played for the league championship and reached the LL quarterfinals a year ago.

However, third-year Ludlowe head coach Tony Samuelian understands how valuable the departed Elise Perazzini and Lizzie Knuff were.

"The loss of (Perazzini) and (Knuff), not only in their captains roles, but in their physical contributions to the team will be tough to replace," Samuelian said. "Each had her own way of getting the most out of her teammates and that commanded everyone's respect."

Standout junior starting pitcher Aliza Guerrero returns from off a stellar second-half in 2011. Guerrero is only a junior and takes two years of experience in the circle into the year with her, and allowed just 20 runs in the team's final eight games a year ago.

Ludlowe has five seniors returning, led by two of its three captains, first baseman Meredith McGann and second baseman, and four-year starter, Jen Hsieh.

Junior Emily Nelson will also be a team captain, playing shortstop and center field.

Amanda Brenner and Maggie Lapolla will also provide depth, with Brenner serving as the team's first baseman and designated player.

Sophomore Brenna Martini was an honorable mention all-FCIAC player in 2011 as a freshman, and Samuelian thinks with a year under her belt, she'll be a year older and a year better.

"As long as she doesn't press, you'll hear a lot about her," Samuelian said.

The team lost in Samuelian knows that, with that experience, a bulls-eye follows.

"Our winning ways came quickly," Samuelian said. "But they'll force us to be ever so sharp when we face opponents looking for payback."

Along with the added stress comes hunger for Ludlowe to prove it has staying power.

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"We're anxious to prove we're legitimate, annual FCIAC contenders," Samuelian said. "We're working hard in practice to keep our tradition of winning ways as a routine part of our conversation."

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