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.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Recruiting Update

With the biggest recruiting weekend of the year almost upon us, here is how the A10 currently looks in terms of recruiting:

Please message any updates via Twitter, Facebook, or email (atlantic10softball@gmail.com)

Manda Cash P Ohio Nightmare 2014
Kailee Budicin IF New Lenox Lightning 2014
Kayla Haberstich SS New Lenox Lightning 2014
Jaclyn Kweder OF Indiana Shockwaves 2014
Kyle Davidson C Ohio Lasers Black 2015
Kelly Fitzpatrick OF Georgia Force 2015
Kayla Laquiere 3B Michigan Batbusters 2015
Aspyn Novak OF Beverly Bandits 2015

Madison Shaw IF/C RI Thunder 2014
Morgan Figueroa OF WA Ladyhawks 2014
Jessica Hughes IF NJ Gators 2015
Kylie Michael C California Cruisers 2015
Skylar Johnston 1B/3B Virginia Legends 2016

George Mason
Jade Fleming IF Dallas Tigers 2014
Katie Holehouse 1B/3B Vienna Stars 2014
Lizzie Seymour IF Beverly Bandits 2014
Brooke Sullivan 2B/C Tri-State Thunder 2014 
Marina Vitalich P Firecrackers-Clarke 2015
Victoria Webster 1B/UT So Cal Breakers 2015

George Washington
Sarah Costlow P So Cal Athletics-Quarles 2014
Alana Anderson OF Arizona Storm 2014
Aiyana Leal-Robles C So Cal Athletics-Quarles 2014
Rochelle Draper 2B Jets Gold 2014
Morgan Rinehart OF Vienna Stars 2014
Ashley Pilcher P Texas Shockwave 2014
Chloe Braun P Gold Coast Hurricanes 2015
Ashley Schnarrs UT Vienna Stars 2015
Riley Tejcek IF Indiana Magic 2015
Kaitlin Bluff P So Cal Athletics-Richardson 2016
Raine Wilson UT Richmond Diamonds 2016

La Salle
Valerie Pineiro 3B NJ Gators 2014
Taylor Rohrbaugh P Krunch Gold 2014
Angelina Refice OF Lower South Liberty 2014
McKenzie Peace P Georgia Knockouts 2014
Marlo Roadcap P Rock 18 Gold 2015
Emma Schweigert IF East Coast Elite 2015
Meghan Nally 1B/OF Lower South Liberty 2016
Courtney Shupp C/1B Lower South Liberty 2016

Meg Colleran P East Coast Firecrackers 2014
Gianna Hathaway SS RI Thunder 2014
Emily Neal OF Pennsbury Gems 2014
Erin Stacevicz OF Delco Chaos 2015
Melissa Garcia OF American Pastime 2015

Jessica Proia IF Concord Raiders 2014
Madison Housel C NJ Pride 2014

St. Bonaventure
Hailey Blencoe 2B TC Tremors 2014
Josie Borysevicz P East Coast Firecrackers 2014
Morgan Phillips C Battery Lightning 2014
Courtney Rogers UT East Coast Firecrackers 2014
Haley Majot P/UT 2014
Alissa Karjel SS Polar Crush 2015

St. Joseph's
Shannon Puthe 2B NJ Gators 2014
Nikki Alden 2B/P Newtown Rock 2014
Erica Nugent SS NJ Cheetahs 2014
Madison Clarke P Newtown Rock 2014
Taryn Grober 3B Newtown Rock 2015
Alyssa Herion SS Delco Chaos 2015
Stacey Mayer IF East Coast Firecrackers 2015
Abbey Stroud P NJ Cheetahs 2015
Ashley Ventura P NJ Cheetahs 2015
Sarah Ostaszewski C/3B Lower South Liberty 2016

St. Louis
Maddie Baalman P/IF 2014
Miranda Cotton IF St. Louis Academy Gold 2014
Josie Knesel OF St. Louis Chaos 2014
Allie Macfarlane IF Mac N Seitz 2014
Mackenzie Lawson 2B St. Louis Espirit 2015

Kristi Stefanoni has been hired as UMass' head coach

Kristi Stefanoni
After a long drawn out search, UMass hired Interim Head Coach Kristi Stefanoni. This is an excellent hire, as no one has put more blood, sweat, and tears into this program. To put it simply, Kristi is UMass softball.

Stefanoni played four years for Elaine Sortino and advanced to NCAA Regionals in each season and won the Amherst Regional in her senior season, advancing to Super Regionals. Stefanoni was not the star of those teams, but her leadership and poise was evident then. When Lehigh was a run away from advancing to the Regional Final and was threatening with a runner on third, Stefanoni showed calm under pressure and fielded a ground ball and fired home to cut down the runner. Those cool nerves under pressure have helped her become an incredible assistant and now head coach.

After graduating in 2006, Stefanoni stayed on staff and has been an integral part of UMass softball. She has been in charge of the UMass outfield and slappers, which have consistently been among the best in the conference. It will be interesting to see how her recruiting takes shape, but it would not be surprise to see this team built on speed and defense.

UMass brings back a talented group into the 2015 season, as just two starters from last year graduated. Caroline Raymond is back in the circle and she will have some depth around her in freshman Megan Colleran, the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year, sophomores Tara Klee and Dakota Smith-Porter, and redshirt junior Emma Mendoker who sat out last season with an injury.

Quianna Diaz-Patterson and Jena Cozza are back to lead the offense and they will be joined by a pair of incoming freshmen who should crack the lineup in Gianna Hathaway and Emily Neal. All in all, the future of UMass softball is looking bright.

Monday, June 16, 2014

UMass Coaching Search

In late May, UMass announced its search for a new head coach. The big question is where Athletic Director John McCutcheon will go in his search. UMass is the premier program of New England, in terms of funding, tradition, and facilities and has likely attracted a great deal of attention, both inside and outside of the UMass softball family. Regardless of the selection, one needs to be made soon, as UMass is already behind the 8-Ball when it comes to recruiting. Many big recruiting camps are coming up and recruits aren't likely to commit to a school that does not have a staff in place.

These are by no means official candidates, just purely speculation.

The UMass Softball Candidates:
Kristi Stefanoni
Kristi Stefanoni has been on staff since 2007 after she graduated in 2006 and has done an outstanding job in her time on the UMass staff. She has helped lead UMass to Atlantic 10 titles in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012. Stefanoni has worked a great deal with the UMass slappers and outfielders, both of which have been some of the best in the league. The past three seasons, Stefanoni has been pillar of strength for this program, as it dealt with Elaine Sortino's illness and death.
Danielle Henderson

Danielle Henderson served as Associate Head Coach this past season and has worked as an assistant coach off and on since graduating in 1999. She has also had stints at Ohio State and Stanford and is a renowned pitching instructor. Henderson is the most accomplished player in Atlantic 10 history, as she won the Honda Award in 1999, in addition to a gold medal with the United States at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. She also had a distinguished professional career with the Akron Racers, Arizona Heat, and New England Riptide, in addition to racking up quite a few wins with the Brakettes. Henderson did a solid job this past season with the UMass pitching staff and "Harry" is most certainly a contender for this job.
Stacey Heintz

Stacey Heintz is a 1992 alum of UMass and has gone on to a lengthy coaching career. After serving as an assistant coach at Hofstra and UMass right out of college, Heintz has been on staff at USF for 14 of the past 17 years. Heintz has worked with three incredible coaches in Elaine Sortino, Bill Edwards, and Ken Eriksen. She is a fiery competitor and knows what it takes to win at the highest level.
Whitney Goldstein

Whitney Goldstein is a 2009 alum of UMass and she is a rising star in the coaching world. Goldstein was an accomplished player at UMass, garnering Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, and All-American honors, while at UMass. Ever since graduating, she has turned around both Amherst College and WPI. Goldstein took over this past season at WPI and the Engineers improved across the board. WPI finished with a 11-23 record in 2013, in 2014 the Engineers recorded a school record (not just in softball) 30-14 mark. WPI improved across the board on offense as the team batting average went from .241 to .326, home runs went from 3 to 19, runs went from 83 to 258, steals went from 11 to 46, and ERA dropped from 3.46 to 2.87. Did we mention that she is a stellar recruiter too? Her fearless nature on the recruiting trail brought a number of outstanding prospects to Amherst and she is doing the same at WPI. She might be the best recruiter of the candidates here. She should be the first candidate any AD in New England goes after.

Kathryn Gleason
Kathryn Gleason is another longtime assistant to Elaine Sortino who has served as Boston University's head coach for the past two seasons and led the Terriers to an appearance at Regionals in Tucson this season. Gleason spent time working as an assistant at UMass, Purdue, and Michigan State and knows what it takes to play at softball's highest level. Gleason is an aggressive coach who is not afraid to turn her team loose on the bases. The Terriers recorded 105 steals this past season, which is 40 more than the previous season's mark. Gleason is well respected nationally and she played a prominent role in UMass' 2012 Atlantic 10 Championship.
Rachel Lawson

Rachel Lawson is coming off of an appearance at the WCWS with Kentucky and would be an incredible hire for the Minutewomen. It is unlikely that Lawson would leave her program, especially since the have established themselves as one of the top programs in the nation with one of the nicest facilities. If for some reason, Lawson affinity for her alma mater is enough to bring her back, it would immediately put UMass back on the map nationally.

Outside the family:
It would be extremely surprising if anyone other than the candidates listed above is hired, that being said there are a few other coaches worth looking into.

St. John's Head Coach Amy Kvilhaug
Dartmouth Head Coach Rachel Hanson
Bryant Head Coach Shayne Lotito
Tufts Head Coach Cheryl Milligan

UMass will hopefully hire a candidate with strong ties to the program who will return to the program to its glory days.