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, January 30, 2015

2015 George Washington Preview: Redemption

Coach Stacey Schramm isn't afraid to go all out for her team!
George Washington came into 2014 with big expectations and left with huge disappointment. The Colonials were picked to finish second in the conference, but instead finished in last place. The good news for George Washington is that they have almost all of their major contributors back and have added even more talent to the fold. Coach Stacey Schramm and her squad are poised for a big bounce-back year.
Meghan Rico (photo by Thom Kendall)

The Colonials are going to need their pitchers to step up in 2015. The Achilles heel for this squad last year was walks. George Washington allowed almost 300 walks last year in 320 innings. That is one of the major reasons that the Colonials finished with a 4.59 ERA. Meghan Rico is back after a grueling 2014 season, which saw her shoulder most of the load in the circle. She went 13-15 with a 3.96 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 194 innings. If Rico can get some rest in the circle this year, her numbers are going to look much better. Paige Kovalsky is also back in the circle. Kovalsky missed most of the season with an injury, but she showed signs of promise in the circle. She finished the year with solid outings against Rhode Island and St. Louis. If she can stay healthy, the Colonials are going to be in great shape. The biggest key for George Washington's pitching in 2015 though, will be the performance of freshman Sarah Costlow. Costlow is one of the most highly regarded recruits that George Washington has ever brought in and they are going to need her to perform in the circle. Costlow is not a huge strikeout pitcher, but she knows how to let her defense do the work and she does not allow many free bases. She will be a strong contender for Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year in 2015. Freshman Ashley Pilcher also figures to see some key innings in the circle.
Samantha Dos Santos and Meghan Rico (photo by Thom Kendall)

Three year starter Samantha Dos Santos is back behind the dish for her senior season. Dos Santos is an excellent defensive catcher, especially in terms of blocking balls. At the plate, Dos Santos went .186 with 18 hits, 9 RBI, and 19 steals. Dos Santos should raise those numbers quite a bit. Freshman Aiyana Leal-Robles is also making a strong push for playing time. Leal-Robles has been teammates with freshman pitcher Sarah Costlow for a long time.
Victoria Valos (photo by Thom Kendall)

George Washington brings back a talented infield that did most of the damage last year at the plate for the Colonials. Leading the way is senior captain Victoria Valos at shortstop. Valos has held down the fort at shortstop for the last three seasons and had another solid campaign last year, hitting .355 with 50 hits, 6 HR, 42 RBI, and 12 steals. Valos is already George Washington's career leader in home runs, doubles, runs batted in, and slugging percentage. She is also poised to become the career leader in hits and runs scored. Megan Linn is back at second base after a stellar freshman season, which saw her hit .370 with 61 hits, 4 HR, 35 RBI, and 30 steals. Linn just missed out on being named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year. Coach Schramm is going to count on Linn to be an excellent leadoff hitter again in 2015. Morgan Matetic is back at third base after a breakout season, which saw her hit .319 with 26 hits, 9 doubles, 6 HR, and 19 RBI. There is going to be some serious competition at first base, as George Washington is very deep at that position. Carlee Gray, Mary Wiley, and Jillian Galich could all see time at first. All three swing powerful bats, though Gray should have the edge going into the season with her excellent defense. Paige Kovalsky could also push for playing time at third base. Kovalsky began the season there before she was injured. Other contenders for playing time in the infield are Rochelle Draper and Maura Murphy.

George Washington is loaded with talent in the outfield and may have the youngest and fastest outfield in the conference. Bradleigh Breland is back after a solid freshman season, which saw her hit .309 with 25 hits and 13 steals. Coach Schramm will be looking for Breland to put up even bigger numbers in 2015. Marissa Mangini is also back for her sophomore season and George Washington will be looking for her to put the ball on the ground and use her speed. Mangini and Breland will look to hold on to their starting spots against a number of talented freshmen. Alana Anderson, Rochelle Draper, and Morgan Rinehart are all gunning for those starting positions. In the end, it will come down to who is getting it done at the plate. Coach Schramm loves a fast team and all of her outfielders should have double digit steal totals if they can consistently get on base.

Designated Player
Jillian Galich and Mary Wiley are once again the favorites to hold down this position. Last year, Galich hit .268 with 1 HR and 23 RBI, while Wiley hit .263 with 25 hits and 12 RBI. Coach Schramm is going to be looking for a powerful lefty bat from this position. It would not be surprising to see Galich or Wiley with more that 5-7 home runs at the end of the season.

The Colonials will open up 2015 with a tough opening weekend against NCAA Tournament teams Auburn, Chattanooga, and UAB, as well as Evansville and Appalachian State. From there, the schedule eases up a bit. George Washington will have a fairly manageable nonconference slate, which should allow this nonconference team round into form before Atlantic 10 play. As far as the Atlantic 10 schedule, George Washington has an interesting lineup. The Colonials must hit the road to face Atlantic 10 Tournament teams La Salle, UMass, Fordham, and Dayton, while they will host St. Louis at home. George Washington will avoid St. Joseph's this year. The Colonials will also host George Mason, Rhode Island, and St. Bonaventure. If George Washington wants to advance to the Atlantic 10 Tournament, they are going to need to take care of business at home and steal a few games on the road.

George Washington is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2014 and it would be shocking if they were not back in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. There is too much talent on this team for them to miss out on the tournament two straight years. If George Washington's pitchers can avoid handing out walks, the Colonials are going to be in great shape to make the tournament. George Washington is also probably one of the few teams with the talent to challenge Fordham in 2015. If Coach Schramm's freshmen step up, this team might have a successful trip to Amherst in May.

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