CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Virginia softball coach Eileen Schmidt has announced that Marcy Bowdren (Fairfax, Va.), Erica Cipolloni (Philadelphia, Pa.), Stephanie Harris (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Alexandra Rodriguez (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.) have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Cavaliers in 2010-11.
"On and off the field, this class embodies the principles of what the University of Virginia and this team are built on: leadership, hard work, and competition," Schmidt said. "Marcy, Erica, Stephanie and Alex fill current and future needs and we expect them all to impact our team right away."
Bowdren, a catcher out of Robinson High School, was a 2009 first-team all-state selection, helping her team to the AAA Northern Region semifinals. The 2009 Concord District Player of the Year and Northern Region Player of the Year, Bowdren hit .568 as a junior.
Cipolloni is the younger sister of current Cavalier Giannina Cipolloni, a sophomore on the 2010 roster. Cipolloni, an infielder, was a second-team all-state honoree as a sophomore and was named to the first team as a junior in 2009. She also is a three-time all-academy selection out of Nazareth Academy.
Harris, who plays both infield and outfield, has twice been named first-team all-state out of Farragut High School. The 2009 Prepxtra Player of the Year and District Player of the Year, Harris hit .580 as a junior.
Rodriguez, a middle infielder and outfielder, is a three-time all-league and two-time all-section honoree out of John Jay High School.
"Going into our third year as a staff, this team has made huge strides in their commitment to take this program to another level," Schmidt said. "The standard they force us to match when looking at prospects is at the highest level both academically and athletically."
Virginia opens the 2010 campaign Feb. 13-14 at the Elon Tournament in Elon, N.C.
Height: 5-3 • Bats: R • Throws: R
• 2009 AAA first team all-state Travel Ball
• Helped team to AAA Northern Region semifinals
• 2009 second team all-met
• 2009 first team Washington Post all-extra
• 2009 Northern Region Player of the Year
• 2009 Concord District Player of the Year
• Hit .568 as a junior
• 2008 AAA second team all-state
• Played for the Shamrocks under Tommy Orndorff
Personal Schmidt on Bowdren:
• Born Nov. 18, 1991
• Daughter of Steve and Lynn Bowdren
• Has two sisters, Chrissy (21) and Lauren (19)
• Sister Chrissy plays field hockey at Mary Washington
"Marcy is a throwback; rarely do you find a catcher come in and naturally command a game the way she does. Her pace, energy and rapport, not just with the pitcher, but with the entire team, is genuine. That is difficult to teach. She is as mechanically sound as a catcher can get. Offensively, Marcy is going to swing a consistent bat. She is a gap kid who runs the bases extremely well."
Philadelphia, Pa./Nazareth Academy
Height: 5-3 • Bats: R • Throws: R
• 2009 first team all-state
• 2008 second team all-state
• Three-time all-academy selection
• Played for the New Jersey Breakers under Joe Salvatore
• Born Jan. 15, 1992
• Daughter of Joe and Missy Cipolloni
• Has two sisters, Gianinna (19) and Malia (7)
• Sister Giannina is a sophomore on the Virginia softball team
Schmidt on Cipolloni: "Erica is no stranger to anyone on Grounds. She had her pick of top programs and we are excited to have her join ours. One of the top middle infielders in the country, E is a game-changer. She can just as easily go long back as she can drop a bunt. The versatility she brings offensively is something that very few players can match. She will impact this team on a national level."
Height: 6-0 • Bats: R • Throws: R
• 2009 Prepxtra Softball Player of the Year
• 2009 District 4AAA Player of the Year
• Two-time first team all-state
• Two-time All-Prepextra first team
• Hit .580 as a junior
• Played for the New Jersey Intensity under Kevin O'Donnell
Personal Schmidt on Harris:
• Born Sept. 27, 1991
• Daughter of Matt and Linda Harris
• Has three sisters, Jennifer (24), Katie (20), and Megan (16)
"Stephanie is so confident and driven. Her versatility on defense and athleticism is a luxury. She is comfortable at a corner of in the outfield. Her bat along with her ability to run fit right into our style. Stephanie thrives under pressure and the attitude and swagger she brings to the table in clutch situations is that of a veteran."
Hopewell Junction, N.Y./John Jay
Height: 5-5 • Bats: R/L • Throws: R
High School Travel Ball
• Three-time all-league selection
• Two-time all-section honoree
• Played for the Polar Crush under Robin King
• Born Aug. 13, 1991
• Daughter of Dan and Robin Rodriguez
• Has a younger brother, Blake (15)
Schmidt on Rodriguez: "Alex is a prototype UVa student - academics, athletic ability, extracurriculars and the big personality. She is a smooth middle infielder who will also see some time in the outfield and she has experience in the circle. Alex is making the transition to the left side of the place and not just as a slapper. The left side is a natural swing for her and will allow her to utilize her speed. Alex is a slick player and she makes the skills look easy."