Published: Apr 8, 2009
A single win was all that separated the University of Tampa softball
team from a chance to participate in the NCAA II national tournament
last year. After seven scoreless innings against Barry University in the
regional championship, two runs by the opposing team cut short the
This year, two of the team’s star players, pitcher Deanne Henriott
, and second-baseman Ashley Arcuri
, say the team is eager to repeat their performance, and perhaps go even further.
think our team this year has a great chance of going to regionals,”
Henriott said. “We are defensively and offensively strong. I really
think we have a chance to go far in our season.”
the team as the pitcher who set a stunning record of 251 strikeouts last
season. As a freshman, she set the record for the most strikeouts in a
single game, which she has already eclipsed with 18 this season, and
became the first freshman to throw a no-hitter.
Henriott originally planned to get a degree in nursing, but switched to a
major in elementary education after her freshman year. A St.
Petersburg, FL, native, she chose to attend UT because of its proximity
to her home and small class sizes.
Fate and family were what led
Arcuri, a senior, to UT after playing for the softball team at Auburn
University her freshman and sophomore years. The star hitter and
second-base player originally had plans to transfer to the University of
Central Florida, when an accident aboard a flight she took to the
Bahamas made her decide to stay near her family in Tampa. An engine of
the small plane in which Arcuri was flying caught fire during the middle
of the flight, forcing an emergency landing.
“That was when I
realized my priorities, which are to be with my family,” Arcuri said.
“Life is short, and I decided to come to UT instead because I have the
best of both worlds – my family in town and still playing softball.”
led the team at the plate with a .336 batting average and a total of 51
hits. A sport management major, she has worked part-time as a hitting
coach for youth softball players – a job she hopes to do full-time upon
graduation. She has also completed an internship in sports marketing
through the UT athletics department doing promotions for various
Along with Henriott, Arcuri was named an
all-Sunshine State Conference player in the 2008 season following the
team’s impressive performance.
“This season we are taking care
of business for the most part,” Arcuri said. “We have some really tough
games coming up, but we are working hard at practice and expect to play
to our potential. I believe we have the best team, player for player, in
The Spartans (currently 24-6, 11-2 SSC) play Barry
and Rollins back-to-back April 9-19 before finishing the regular season
with Florida Southern. After that, they intend to compete in the NCAA
South Regional on May 9.
For more information on UT softball, including game schedules and statistics, visit the UT Athletics Web site