A10 Softball Blog

An Atlantic 10 Conference Softball Fan Blog written from a fan's perspective. It is not affiliated with the conference or any of the teams.

Friday, February 7, 2014

2014 Atlantic 10 Preview

Here are our projected standings:

1. Fordham
2. George Washington
3. UMass
4. St. Joseph's
5. St. Louis
6. Dayton
7. La Salle
8. St. Bonaventure
9. George Mason
10. Rhode Island

Atlantic 10 Player of the Year: Elise Fortier, Fordham
Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year: Liz Mendez, St. Joseph's
Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year: Paige Kovalsky, George Washington
Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year: Stacey Schramm, George Washington

Atlantic 10 First Team
P Liz Mendez, St. Joseph's
P Brianna Lore, St. Louis
C Gabby Luety, Fordham
1B Tiffany Meeks, UMass
2B Sarah Yoos, St. Joseph's
3B Kayla Lombardo, Fordham
SS Elise Fortier, Fordham
OF Kendra Heyer, La Salle
OF Lindsay Friedman, St. Louis
OF Natalie Mariano, Dayton
UT Michele Daubman, Fordham
DP Paige Ortiz, Fordham

Worth noting: the A10 is extremely strong at the shortstop position and it is unfortunate that more players cannot be honored. Victoria Valos, Quianna Diaz-Patterson, Nicole Palase, Megan Hodgson, and Emily McDonough are some of the the conference's outstanding shortstops.

Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team
P Tara Klee, UMass
P Lauren Quense, Fordham
P/UT Paige Kovalsky, George Washington
C Ashton Wince, UMass
2B Megan Linn, George Washington
2B Whitney Cooper, UMass
SS Alex Nickel, St. Louis
OF Bella Picard, St. Joseph's
DP Jillian Galich, George Washington

2014 Preview: Rhode Island

The Rams enter 2014 after an extremely disappointing 2013 season, which saw them finish 10-37 and 3-18 in Atlantic 10 play. Rhode Island will still be extremely young in 2014 and barring a surprise it will be hard to see them making the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
Sam Bedore

Pitching: The circle will be the strength of the Rams in 2014, as Sam Bedore is back for her senior season. Bedore went 6-16 with a 4.29 ERA and 94 SO in 127 innings. Bedore will the Rams ace in 2014 and they will go as far as she can take them. URI will also count on freshman Ashley Dumoulin and sophomore Caitlin Kennedy for valuable innings.
Jocelyn Mattison

Hitting: The Rams did not have a single .300 hitter in 2013 and lost the squad's top 3 hitters. Senior Jocelyn Mattison and Sophomore Taylor Archer will lead the way for the Rams in 2014. Mattison hit .263 with 35 hits, 4 HR, and 17 RBI, while Archer hit .259 with 30 hits, 1 HR, and 10 RBI. Coach Erin Layton will need to have Stacey Fox, Meg Kelly, Megan Congro, and Lauren Klepchick improve on their offensive output from a year ago. Rhode Island will also need some of its freshmen Marylynn Muldowney, Danielle Gariglio, Ali Summers, and Jenna Cubello to perform at the plate.

Defense: The Rams had an average defense in 2013 and will need some new performers to step up in the field. URI will bring back its entire outfield from 2013, but the Rams will be inserting new starters at shortstop and third base, as well as catcher.

Overall Prognosis: This is going to be a tough year for the Rams and they will have done very well if they advance to the Atlantic 10 Tournament. The Rams could very easily finish last in the conference, which is something that they do not want to do again.

2014 Preview: Dayton

Dayton enters 2014 after its second Atlantic 10 Tournament appearance in the past three years. The Flyers return some talented pieces and should be a tough game every time out in 2014. The big question will be whether they can make that next step.
Emily Froment

Pitching: Dayton brings back its top pitchers from 2013 in Emily Froment and Kayla English, with Alysha Isaacson and Lyndsey Diggs also returning. Coach Cara LaPlaca also adds Gabrielle Snyder to the mix. Froment should lead the way for Dayton in 2014, after a strong freshman campaign, which saw her go 8-5 with a 2.50 ERA and 54 SO in 81.1 innings. Kayla English is the most prolific strikeout pitcher in the Atlantic 10, as she record 174 SO in 148.1 innings with a 9-11 record and 3.26 ERA. English could be a dominant force if can cut down on the walks and extra base hits that she allows.
Kasi Vasquez

Offense: Leading hitter Kasi Vasquez is back to lead the Flyer offense after a solid 2013 season, which saw her hit .333 with 39 hits, 8 HR, and 27 RBI. No other Flyer hit over .300 in 2013, but Natalie Mariano, Tiffany Ricks, and Dana Trotta are back after solid seasons. Mariano hit .289 with 53 hits, 3 triples, 2 HR, and 21 RBI. Ricks hit .288 with 30 hits, 6 HR, and 27 RBI, while Trotta hit .286 with 32 hits, 8 HR, and 28 RBI. The Flyers have some powerful bats and will look to put up some serious HR numbers in 2014.
Dana Trotta

Defense: One of the staples under Coach LaPlaca has been a solid defense and that should once again be the case in 2014. The Flyers return most of their infield from 2013, which should be the strength of the defense. Dayton does bring back both catchers, but they will need to work harder to control the running game, as opponents were almost automatic in stealing bases against the Flyers.

Overall Prognosis: Dayton should make the Atlantic 10 Tournament, but it is hard to see them cracking the top four. The Flyers will need to elevate their game all around the diamond in order to challenge for the regular season title.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

2014 Preview: St. Louis

The Billikens come into 2014 after a solid 2013 season and they have high aspirations for this squad. St. Louis comes into 2014 with an experienced pitching staff that knows how to win. If the offense can step up, St. Louis could be a title contender.
Bri Lore

Pitching: St. Louis will count on the big lefty Bri Lore to lead the way in 2014, along with Laney Kneib. Lore had a great freshman season, which was capped off by an outstanding performance at the Atlantic 10 Tournament in 2013. Lore finished the year with a 14-15 record and a 2.56 ERA with 120 SO in 213 innings. Kneib went 14-8 with a 3.14 ERA and 52 SO in 129.1 IP. This duo should once again see the bulk of work for the Billikens. Elizabeth Everingham may also see some innings in the circle.
Katie Kroeger

Offense: There are some major questions regarding the St. Louis offense, as a number of key contributors graduated and left. Lindsay Friedman will lead the way at the plate, as she can hit for power, average, and speed. Friedman hit .290 with 36 hits, 8 HR, 30 RBI, and 14 steals. Kelsey Biggs and Katie Kroeger should also be key contributors in 2014. Coach Christy Connoyer will need freshmen and returnees to step up for this team to be successful.
Olivia Roback

Defense: The Billikens are strong at the corners with Elizabeth Everingham and Kelsey Biggs both returning. Lindsay Friedman is also back in the outfield. Elsewhere though, St. Louis has quite a few holes to fill, as the Billikens will need a new shortstop, catcher, and two outfielders. There will definitely be a lot of new faces out there for St. Louis.

Overall Prognosis: St. Louis will make the Atlantic 10 Tournament, but it is hard to see the Billikens snagging the title, unless the offense steps up. St. Louis will score quite a few wins in 2014, but it's non-conference schedule will be a drain on the conference's RPI.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

2014 Preview: UMass


The Minutewomen enter 2014 after an extremely difficult 2013 season on and off the field. On the field, UMass had its first losing season since 1976. The Minutewomen got off to a rough start in non-conference play, going 2-16 to start the year, but did end the year on a better note, going 16-9 over the final 25 games. UMass struggled with its health, defense, and pitching in 2013, missing the Atlantic 10 Tournament for the first time. Then in August, long time head coach and NFCA Hall of Famer Elaine Sortino lost her battle with cancer.
Kristi Stefanoni

Long time assistant coach Kristi Stefanoni was named interim head coach and Olympian Danielle Henderson returned to Amherst as the associate coach. Stefanoni, Henderson, and new assistant Staci Ramsey have been pushing this young squad, which has the potential to be something special. UMass has a lot to prove and a lot to play for in 2014 and they should be in the mix for the title once again in May.
Caroline Raymond

Pitching: Caroline Raymond was an absolute workhorse for the Minutewomen in 2013, pitching the lion's share of innings and she will once again be counted upon to throw key innings in 2014. Raymond went 15-14 with a 3.97 ERA and 95 SO in 181.2 IP. Raymond has the potential to be one of the top pitchers in the A10, especially if she cuts down on the free passes. Freshmen Tara Klee will likely be UMass' number two pitcher and she will give Raymond some much needed rest this season. Dakota Smith-Porter and Bridget Lemire also figure to see some significant time in the circle. Sophomore Emma Mendoker will redshirt the 2014 season due to an injury.
Lindsey Webster

Offense: The great news for the Minutewomen is that most of their dynamic offense is back and poised for breakout seasons. Quianna Diaz-Patterson will lead the way for the Minutewomen, as the left-handed hitting shortstop put together another solid campaign in 2013, hitting .357 with 46 hits, 3 HR, 24 RBI, and 8 steals. Tiffany Meeks also had a breakout season, hitting .352 with 44 hits, 9 HR, and 40 RBI. Sophomore Taylor Carbone is back after a solid rookie campaign, which saw her hit .305. Speedy slappers Cyndil Matthew and Christine Della Vecchia have graduated, but the Minutewomen will still be potent at the plate and on the bases. Lindsey Webster has hit 18 HR in her career and she seems to be poised for a double digit output in 2014. Whitney Cooper missed all of last year due to injury and she is back in 2014 and is going to hit quite a few balls out of Sortino Field.

Defense: UMass' defense was it's Achilles' heel in 2013, as the Minutewomen committed 88 errors. In 2014, some players will be in different spots and the Minutewomen should be one of the better defensive squads. One of the great strengths and great challenges for Coach Stefanoni is all of the depth that she has. Sophomore Olivia Godin and Freshman Ashton Wince are competing for the catching position and they will likely split time to start the year. UMass' depth will give Coach Stefanoni many options and can allow her to make many situational choices.

Overall Prognosis: While there is a bit of an unknown surrounding this team, UMass has the potential to return to its dominating form and re-establish itself at the top of the conference. If the freshmen deliver as expected, UMass will be contending for the A10 title and an at-large bid.

Monday, February 3, 2014

2014 Preview: George Washington

George Washington

The Colonials enter 2014 with a young, but extremely talented squad. Coach Stacey Schramm and Assistant Dan Sperl have killed it on the recruiting trail the past few years and 2014 is shaping up to be the year that they finally breakthrough. The Colonials have the experience and the talent to bring the program to the next level.
Meghan Rico

Pitching: The strength for the Colonials will once again be in the circle. Courtney Martin and Meghan Rico both return after solid 2013 seasons. Martin went 14-13 with a 2.10 ERA and 170 SO in 193.2 IP and Rico went 13-10 with 3.06 ERA and 139 SO in 135 IP. Martin did an excellent job of keeping opposing hitters off balance, while Rico got the job done with power. Rico seems poised for a breakout season. George Washington has also added an extremely talented freshman pitcher in Paige Kovalsky. Kovalsky should see some key innings for the Colonials and should provide a different look in the circle. Martin, Rico, and Kovalsky are a terrific trio and have the potential to lead GW to an Atlantic 10 Championship and beyond.

Offense: George Washington returns Tori Valos and Carlee Gray on offense and they will once again be counted upon to lead the way at the plate. Valos hit .363 with 57 hits, 11 HR, 53 RBI, and 5 steals, while Gray hit .310 with 45 hits, 1 HR, and 28 RBI. The Colonials will need help from their extremely talented freshmen class to provide enough firepower to take this team to the next level. Megan Linn figures to start at second for George Washington and Jillian Galich, Marissa Mangini, and Bradleigh Breland also figure to play major roles for the Colonials.
Tori Valos

Defense: Samantha Dos Santos is the Colonials' rock behind the plate and she is the conference's top blocker behind the plate. Dos Santos keeps just about everything in front of her, which a huge asset to her pitching staff. In the infield, Valos returns at shortstop and Gray is back at first and both are solid defenders. George Washington will also likely have three new outfielders in 2014.

Overall Prognosis: George Washington has the talent and experience to go far in 2014 and this team has the potential to contend for an Atlantic 10 title and at-large bid in 2014. The Colonials have an incredibly talented freshmen class, which will be the key to their success in 2014.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

2014 Preview: St. Joseph's

St. Joseph's

The Hawks come into 2014 as the defending regular season champions and the runners-up from the 2013 Atlantic 10 Tournament. The Hawks lost a number of key contributors from 2013, but some keys cogs are back and they will once again be a force in 2014. Coach Terri Adams is offsetting the big losses to graduation with an eight member freshman class and one junior transfer. The Hawks may take their lumps early on, but Coach Adams will have them right in the mix at the end.

Losses: Taryn Ashway, Monica Aguilar, Dana Parks, Rochelle Christman, Deanna Stinner, Juliette D'Ambrosio
Additions: Ashley Alden, Emily Rogers, Alex Dominici, Niki Carillo, Bella Picard, Alexis Bush, Alexia Faulkner, Maddie Brunck, Stephanie Chaiser
Liz Mendez

Pitching: The Hawks have lost 2013 Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year Taryn Ashway, but with Liz Mendez back, St. Joseph's is in great shape. Mendez had a breakout weekend at the Atlantic 10 Tournament and frankly deserved Most Outstanding Player, despite the fact that the Hawks did not win it all. Mendez was lights out and if she can recapture that form, there will be no stopping the Hawks in 2014. Mendez went 11-6 with a 2.02 ERA and 114 SO in 124.2 IP. Mendez will need help, so Terri Adams will be looking for Emily Rogers, Niki Carillo, Anna Lauterbach, or Alex Dominici to step up and provide quality innings for the Hawks.
Nicole Palase

Offense: The Hawks dynamic duo up the middle of Sarah Yoos and Nicole Palase will lead the way in 2014. Yoos was the 2013 Rookie of the Year, hitting .375 with 45 hits, 3 HR, 33 RBI, and 2 steals. Palase hit .329 with 48 hits, 3 HR, 33 RBI and 7 steals. For St. Joseph's to be successful, Yoos and Palase will need to lead the way. Maria Ficca, Brandi Harkness, Morgan Earling, and Melissa Ruf will determine how far this team goes. If they can step up and improve their offensive numbers from last year, the Hawks will fly past the competition. Freshman Bella Picard is going to be one to watch for the Hawks and she will likely hold down a key spot in the St. Joseph's lineup.
Sarah Yoos

Defense: Palase anchors the defense at shortstop and she forms a great double play combo with Yoos at second base. Earling looked very sharp at third in Atlantic 10 Tournament, so she'll play an important role once again. Harkness split time at first last year, so she should figure into the mix over there once again. Ficca and Ruf also return in the outfield. The big question mark for 2014 is the catching position. St. Joseph's will need one of its young players to step up and be a wall behind the plate.

Overall Prognosis: The Hawks have a great shot of winning their first Atlantic 10 Championship in 2014, but that will only happen if multiple freshmen and returning players step up.

2014 Preview: Fordham


2014 Fordham Rams (Tom Wasiczko)
The Rams come into 2014 as the defending champions and they have won 2 championships in the past three years. Bridget Orchard will once again have the Rams at top of the conference and in the national conversation. Fordham loses three starters from their 2013 NCAA squad, but some talented freshmen and a key transfer should help offset those losses. Jamie LaBovick was one of the top two-way players in the country and will be missed, but the Rams are not short on firepower in the circle or at the plate.

Losses: Jamie LaBovick, Chelsea Palumbo, Sammi Smith, Jess Crowley,  Taylor Pirone
Additions: Lauren Quense, Amy Van Hoven, Sydney Canessa, Stephanie Ferri, Rachel Gillen

Michele Daubman (Tom Wasiczko)
Pitching: Michele Daubman returns to anchor the pitching staff after a breakout 2013 season, which saw her go 18-8 in the circle and she also hit .318 with 6 HR and 31 RBI. Patti Maloney got off to a slow start in 2013, recovering from injuries, but she finished the season on a high note in postseason play. Transfer Rachel Gillen and freshman Lauren Quense will also play major roles in the circle and at the plate for the Rams. Fordham's depth in the circle should be second to none in 2014.

Elise Fortier (Tom Wasiczko)
Offense: The Rams hit .306 with 69 HR in 2013 and those numbers should be even better in 2014. Elise Fortier leads the way, coming off of one of the best power seasons in Atlantic 10 history. Fortier .362 and blasted a conference record 20 HR to go along with 54 RBI. Fortier is not alone as she is protected in the Rams' lineup by Atlantic 10 Tournament MOP Paige Ortiz who hit .272 with 6 HR and 30 RBI in 2013, Gabby Luety who hit .351 with 13 HR and 51 RBI, and Kayla Lombardo who hit .293 with 7 HR and 39 RBI. Fordham isn't going to outrun anyone in 2014, but they will run through teams. The Rams are built on power and look poised to set school and potentially conference records at the plate in 2014.
Gabby Luety (Tom Wasiczko)

Defense: The Rams didn't have the best defense in 2013, compared with previous Fordham squads, but they will return to top form in 2014. Gabby Luety anchors the defense at catcher and her arm helps hold opposing defenses in check. Luety threw out 16 runners attempting to steal in 2013. Most of the infield returns as Elise Fortier is back at shortstop, Kayla Lombardo at third base, and Brianna Turgeon at second base. The Rams will be looking at newcomers to fill holes at first base and in the outfield.

Overall Prognosis: This team is going to be something special and it has the potential to compete with any team nationally. The offense for Fordham is going to being ridiculous and if an ace emerges in the circle, they will be unstoppable. If the Rams can get it done in non-conference play, then they should have a great shot at an at-large bid.