Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2011 MAAC Preview---Rider Broncs

2010 Record: 5th Place (16-31-1)
Departed Players: 6
Incoming Players: 5

Returning Players:
Heather Muscara (.364)
Amanda Centeno (.333)
Brittany Eckett (.310; 10 HR; 40 RBI)
Jen Steward (.260)
Sam Pugh (.239)
Samantha Mayer (.234)
Lucy Higgins (.226)
Alyssa Paul (.196)
Christina LoBrutto (.000)
Rachaele Matreale (11-18; 3.25)
Sam Bennett (1-6; 7.25)
Kelsey Krisch (4-6; 8.88)

Incoming Players:
Lisa Blanton
Ally Coryell
Laura Gallagher
Krysti Maronski
Kehli Washington

In 2010 the Broncs made an early run toward the MAAC Tournament but were derailed when they made their western trip to play at Canisius and Niagara. After that, they made a late season push to qualify but fell just short and finished in 5th place. This season they return a mix of seniors and underclassmen that will keep them competitive.

Senior Brittany Eckett had an All-MAAC type season in 2010 although she was inexplicably left off the All-MAAC team. She can hit for average and power; dangerous every time she steps up to the plate. Four times in 2010 she drove home 4 or more runs in a game. She has hit 19 home runs in her Rider career. Her numbers have improved each season; look for her to be back on the All-MAAC team in '11.

Senior Amanda Centeno was named All-MAAC in 2010, and with good reason. She had 11 multiple hit games in 2010, a season which saw her improve her batting average by 67 points from her sophomore year.

The MAAC doesn't have an All-Freshmen team, but this blog does and Heather Muscara was on it. As a freshman she hit .364 to go along with 26 RBIs and 7 stolen bases. Heather is one of the most talented young players in the conference.

For the Broncs to be contenders in '11, their pitching must improve upon the team ERA of 5.23 they posted in 2010. Junior Rachael Matreale provides some hope for that improvement. She pitched the bulk of the innings for Rider last season, and her ERA was among the MAAC leaders until she faced Niagara and gave up 8 earned runs, then Canisius and 12 earned runs, both in less than 5 innings. On the positive side, she was named MAAC Pitcher Of The Week three times, and pitched a no hitter against conference rival Marist. It is hoped that another year of experience will have made her more consistent. If so Rider could be a factor in the MAAC race this season. Look for her to pitch a lot of innings again this season.

Rider has shown that they can smack the ball around. What they need to do now is prevent opposing teams from doing so.

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