Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather





Put your ad message in front of 1,000's and 1,000's of Pirate fans. Call 252.637.2944 for flexible options & rates.





The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, March 25, 2009

By Bethany Bradsher

Ladies on the move on multiple fronts

By Bethany Bradsher
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 greater.

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 still remains.

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 them.

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 facilities.

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 abilities.”

“I really feel like she’s turned the corner,” Williams said. “We really felt like Annie was an underachiever.”

••••• 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.”

Send a message to Bethany Bradsher.

Dig into Bethany Bradsher's archives.

03/25/2009 01:26:32 AM

©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.