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Little East: Four Are Weekly Awardees

Cooper, Rathbun in softball and Dubinsky, Sullinger in m-lacrosse cited

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Head softball coach Diana Pepin and players Arielle Cooper and Molly Rathbun will be guests on the Wayne Norman Show Tuesday morning on WILI Radio. LISTEN to the archived broadcast beginning at 11 a.m.

NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. --  Four Eastern Connecticut State University athletes in two sports have been recognized by the Little East Conference in its weekly spring awards program.

At left: Arielle Cooper became the program's first LEC Player-of-the-Week since 2010.

Junior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) became the softball program's first Player-of-the-Week since 2010 and senior pitcher Molly Rathbun (Hebron) earned the 16th weekly honor of her career with her selection as softball Pitcher-of-the-Week for the third straight week.

In men's lacrosse, senior attack Michael Sullinger (Brookfield) and junior faceoff specialist Josh Dubinsky (Woodstock) were named the Offensive and Defensive Player-of-the-Week, respectively, for the second time in three weeks. Both were identically recognized in the second weekly report of the year March 19.

The softball teams is 17-1 (4-0 in the LEC) with a 16-game winning streak and is ranked No. 4 in Division III. The Warriors host Trinity College Tuesday at 4 p.m.

The men's lacrosse team is 5-4 (2-0 in the LEC) and visits Wesleyan University Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Both Eastern and Wesleyan received votes in this week's USILA Division III national poll.

Cooper batted .500 (9-of-18) in a 4-0 week for the Warriors, who swept LEC opponent Keene State College Saturday after taking two from Springfield College last Tuesday. and led the team with 18 total bases, three home runs, six runs scored and seven assists.  Cooper, previously honored once in her career (as Rookie-of-the-Week on May 3, 2010), extended her hitting streak to nine with consecutive three-hit games in a Little East Conference sweep of host Keene State College Saturday. The 2011 first-team all-conference third baseman socked her 18th and 19th career home runs in the second-game win against Keene. In a mid-week victory at Springfield College, she homered for her 100th career hit.

Cooper ranks  second in the LEC in home runs (6) and runs (20) and eighth in batting average(.415).

In Eastern's 4-0 week, Rathbun struck out 24 batters and walked only two without allowing an earned run and giving up only seven hits in 15 2/3 innings. The two-time LEC Pitcher-of-the-Year appeared in three games and completed both of her starts. Against Keene State Saturday Rathbun posted her 33rd straight regular-season conference victory (41-2 in her career), set the program career record for innings pitched, won her 11th straight game and improved her career record to 6-0 against Keene.  Rathbun also led Eastern during the week with a .538 batting average and team-high five RBI.

Rathbun leads the conference in virtually every pitching category, among them wins (12-1 record), ERA (0.48), strikeouts (117) and lowest opponent batting average (.128).
In 17 appearances this year, Rathbun has given up earned runs in only two games, pitching 43.0 consecutive innings without an earned run at one point (ten shy of her program record).

Two-time defending LEC regular-season champion Eastern was rated first in the conference coaches' pre-season poll, Keene second.

Sullinger contributed to half of Eastern's goals with five goals and two assists in a 14-11 Little East Conference home victory over Keene State College Saturday, ending the Owls' 19-match conference winning streak. The goal total equaled a career-high for Sullinger and the seven points is one behind his career best.

The team leader for Eastern this year with 38 points and 16 assists, Sullinger scored four of his goals in a span of 14 minutes beginning with three minutes left in the first half that triggered a run of three straight Eastern goals that gave the Warriors a one-goal halftime lead.
Among Sullinger's final four goals, one tied the match, one gave the Warriors a one-goal lead and two of them pushed Eastern into two-goal leads. Sullinger scored twice in a span of 68 seconds - the final goals of the third quarter - that gave Eastern an 11-9 heading into the final quarter. Eastern led the rest of the way.

A second-team all-conference pick last year, Sullinger tops the LEC in points per game (4.2), is fourth in assist per game (1.8) and seventh in goals per game (2.44). He has 22 goals and 16 assists in nine matches this season.

Dubinsky won ten of 11 faceoffs in the second half and 21 of 28 in the match and retrieved a career-high 17 ground balls as Eastern ended Keene's 19-game Little East Conference winning streak with a 14-11 home victory Saturday.

Dubinsky, ranked fourth nationally with an average of 11.89 ground balls per game, among picked up his 100th ground ball of the season in the match. By winning 75 percent of his faceoffs against two Keene opponents, Dubinsky improved his season percentage to above 60 percent to .602. 

Ranked first in the conference in ground balls per game and second in faceoff percentage, Dubinsky scored off his own faceoff to open the fourth quarter to give Eastern a three-goal lead against Keene. Dubinsky has not won under 50 percent of his faceoffs over the last five matches, including 19 of 22 against Wheaton College (MA).

Two-time defending regular season and playoff champion Keene was rated No. 1 in the LEC coaches' pre-season poll, Eastern No. 2.

 

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