Monday, May 21, 2012

Thanks For Reading!

Now that the 2012 MAAC softball season has come to a close, I want to thank you for reading this little blog, which exists to give much deserved web exposure to the student-athletes who work so hard for the love of their sport. You smashed all previous readership records, left interesting comments and kept me on my toes.

The posting, of course, won't be as frequent over the summer, but I'll do my best to keep you updated on happenings in MAAC softball. A lot of new, young players will be arriving in the fall; Niagara will be naming a new Head Coach; and St. Peter's will be making the transition from College to University. The landscape looks to be much different in the 2013 season.

Have a great summer!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

MAAC Season Ends With Iona Loss

The Sarah Jackson era at Iona ended Saturday in Berkeley

Boston U. 4
Iona 3 (13)

Box Score
Eileen McCann's Blog Entry

The Iona Gaels saw their season end with a heartbreaking 13 inning loss to Boston University Saturday in Berkeley, CA.

The Iona Gaels went down fighting in a classic extra innings game against Boston University that saw both teams very unwilling to be eliminated from Tournament play. Boston U. got on the board first with a walk and a couple of singles off Iona starter Alyssa Maiese, taking a 1-0 lead. Alyssa settled down after the rocky start, finishing with 10 strikeouts. The score remained the same until the top of the fifth inning, when a two out single by Jodi Petersen scored Chelsea Sheehan to tie the game for the Gaels. The Terriers came right back in the bottom of the same inning though with a pair of singles that gave them the lead back at 2-1. Iona tied the game up in the next inning when Eileen McCann scored on a wild pitch after she and Alyssa Maiese had led off with singles. The game would go into extra innings, with both teams having plenty of chances to win. Iona broke the tie in the top of the ninth inning when Jodi Petersen scored after Alyssa Maiese's infield grounder bounced off a couple of gloves. It looked like Iona had their first NCAA Tournament win sealed in the bottom of the ninth, but the wheels fell off. With two outs, and the bases empty, third baseman Chelsea Sheehan picked up a grounder for what appeared to be the final out of the game, instead throwing it away which allowed the Boston U. runner to get all the way to third base. An infield single brought in the run, and the game was extended. The Gaels loaded the bases in the 12th inning, but could not push a run across. The game ended in the bottom of the 13th, when Boston U. hit three singles off of reliever Sarah Jackson to score the winning run.

Alyssa Maiese and Allyssa James each had three hits. Allyssa James had a great regional, hitting 5 for 8. The Gaels had 15 hits as a team to Boston University's 13. It was a very exciting game, played hard and well by both teams.

Sarah Jackson made her last appearance in a Gaels' uniform, and although I know it must have been difficult for her to end her career in this tough loss, Iona wouldn't have won all these championships without her. She ends her career as the greatest Iona Gael ever, and one of the best players in MAAC history. Alyssa Maiese, Chelsea Sheehan, Deanne Algeo and Allyssa James, all integral ingredients to the Gaels' championship run, also saw their last action in an Iona uniform, and left it all on the field.

So ends another season of MAAC Softball. You can view the season's final statistics at the top of this page.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Gaels Drop Opener At Berkeley Regional

Allyssa James was 2 for 2 vs. the top team in the nation

#1 California 8
Iona 0 (5)

Box Score

The Iona Gaels are still looking for their first NCAA Tournament win after losing to #1 California 8-0 in five innings Friday night in Berekely, CA.

The Gaels were hanging with the country's top ranked team until the fifth inning that saw the Golden Bears put up five runs to end the game early. Cal scored three times in the opening frame. Iona starter Sarah Jackson got off to a rough start, walking a pair of runners before Cal got on the board via a passed ball. The Golden Bears' Breana Kostreba then hit a two out, two run home run over the center field fence for a 3-0 lead. Sarah settled down nicely after that, allowing only one runner until the fifth inning. The Gaels had difficulty generating any offense until the fifth inning, when Allyssa James singled and was sacrificed to second base. But pinch hitter Beth Kann struck out to end the threat. Cal broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth inning with four hits, a couple of walks, and an Iona error. Cal only had six hits in the game, but made the most of them. Allyssa James had both of the Gaels' hits.

The Gaels will face Boston University, a 3-2 loser to Arkansas, Saturday evening. This will be an excellent opportunity for the Iona softball program to earn their first ever NCAA Tournament win. A win would move them to another elimination game later that night; a loss would end their 2012 season.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

MAAC Flashback

Marist vs. #1 California, March 16, 2012

Marist vs. Cal Box Score

Here is evidence that the Gaels should not let themselves be intimidated by the Cal Golden Bears.
Back in March, Iona's fellow MAAC team Marist went toe-to-toe with the number one team in the nation, losing a close 1-0 game. The Red Foxes' Melanie White limited the Golden Bears to five hits. Marist had six themselves, and actually had many scoring chances in the game against both of Cal's great pitchers.

Can Iona beat number one? It would take every player stepping up her game. At any rate, they should NOT feel in awe just to be on the same field.

NFCA All-Region Selections

The National Fastpitch Coaches Association has released its Regional all-star teams.
Players from the MAAC who have been honored:

Katie Bowen, Manhattan-First Team, Northeast Region
Kristen Filicia, Fairfield-Second Team, Northeast Region
Sarah Jackson, Iona-Second Team, Great Lakes Region
Shannon Jones, Siena-Second Team, Great Lakes Region
Alyssa Maiese, Iona-Second Team, Great Lakes Region

Monday, May 14, 2012

Berkeley, CA Regional May 18-20

Iona College Gaels

Record: 35-24
Leading Hitter: Eileen McCann (.337)
Leading Pitcher: Alyssa Maiese (1.25; 17-10); Sarah Jackson (1.26; 17-12)

University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears

Record: 50-4
Leading Hitter: Jamia Reid (.391)
Leading Pitcher: Jolene Henderson (1.22; 30-2); Valerie Arioto (1.22; 20-2)

Boston University Terriers

Record: 40-14
Leading Hitter: Jayme Mask (.368)
Leading Pitcher: Holli Floetker (1.75; 19-3)

Arkansas Razorbacks

Record: 27-26
Leading Hitter: Devon Wallace (.345)
Leading Pitcher: Kimmy Beasley (3.32; 10-9)

Friday, May 18
Boston U. vs. Arkansas (8 pm)
Iona vs. #1 California (10 pm)

Saturday, May 19
Winner's Bracket (6 pm)
Loser's Bracket (8 pm)
Elimination Game (10 pm)

Sunday, May 20
Championship Game (8 pm)
If Necessary Game (10 pm)
*All times eastern

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gaels Draw The Number 1 Seed

The Iona Gaels will be playing in the Berkeley Regional where they will face the daunting task of opening against the top rated team in the nation, the California Golden Bears.
Also in the regional will be Arkansas and Boston University.

More on this breaking news later.

Niagara Coach Al Dirschberger Retires

Sources inform me that long time Niagara University softball head coach Al Dirschberger has retired with the conclusion of the 2012 season.

Coach Dirschberger guided the Purple Eagles for 22 seasons, winning a MAAC Championship in 1998. Dirschberger was named MAAC Coach Of The Year in 2000 and 2007. He retires as the longest tenured coach at Niagara.

Coach Dirschbegrer and his staff were part time/volunteer. Due to a restructuring in the Niagara athletics department, the school will be seeking a full time coach, and I guess his other duties in life will not allow him to fulfill a full time position. Is Caitlin Lever possibly in the mix? Niagara will begin a national search for their new coach soon.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Sarah Jacson brings another title to Iona College

Iona 3
Fairfield 1

Iona 2
Fairfield 0


Sarah Jackson ends her MAAC career by bringing home a third MAAC title to Iona as she shuts down the Fairfield Stags 2-0 at the MAAC Championship in Poughkeepsie, NY Saturday.

What more can be said?

How about maybe Sarah Jackson is the greatest athlete in ALL of Iona history, not just softball? I am not that familiar with Iona athletics to answer this question. But in her career at Iona, she lifted the Gael softball program from obscurity to three consecutive championships, today pitching a masterpiece against the Fairfield Stags. After her teammates scratched out two runs in the first inning, this game was never in doubt. Sarah scattered four hits, and struck out eight Stags; but Fairfield never had much of a threat. Sarah simply would not give them life. Sarah has struggled this season with aches and pains, but she proved again that she's the toughest player in the conference with her lights out performance. She will go down as one of the top pitchers in MAAC history; a player you had to watch play to truly appreciate.

To even get to this game, Iona had to win the first one of the day against Fairfield, and they did so with a seventh inning rally, and with a little help from the Stags. The game was tied 1-1 entering the seventh inning, when Fairfield reliever Rae Ball hit leadoff hitter Eileen McCann and subsequently walked Alyssa Maiese. Becca Trott then re-entered the game, giving up a sacrifice bunt by Deanne Algeo that moved the runners up a base. A two out wild pitch then brought home the winning run. Chelsea Sheehan and Brianna Schauer both had three hits in this game for the Gaels. Alyssa Maiese struck out seven Stags in earning the win and giving her team the chance to win it all. Alyssa had a great tournament in closing out her MAAC career.

With their win today, Iona became only the second team in MAAC history to win three consecutive titles, tying Canisius for that distinction. What's left for the Sarah Jackson Gaels? At this point, I think they would like to do some damage in the NCAA Tournament, which begins next week. Iona will learn who and where they will play Sunday night.

As for Fairfield, they suffer the disappointment of twice losing doubleheaders to Iona on the last day of the tournament. A bitter pill to swallow; they did have a chance to win it all in game one. On a positive note, they will likely be the favorites headed into 2013. But that is little solace at the moment, I am sure.

Iona Forces One Game Playoff

The Iona Gaels just defeated Fairfield 3-1 in the first game on Championship Saturday in Poughkeepsie, NY.

The two teams will now play one game to decide who takes the title, and receives the automatic bid to the National Tournament.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Gaels Will Try To Win One More

The Gaels will need to beat Fairfield twice to extend the Sarah Jackson era

Iona 5
Canisius 0

The Iona Gaels eliminated Canisius Friday at the MAAC Championship in Poughkeepsie, NY and advanced to Championship Saturday.

After their 15 inning, over three hour game against Fairfield, the Gaels looked fairly fresh in their win against Canisius. Brianna Schauer and Alyssa Maiese both drove home a pair of early runs to give Iona an insurmountable lead. Alyssa earned the win, finishing a day that saw her pitch 13 innings, and have no runs credited against her. Caroline Main took the loss in her last game in a Canisius uniform.

The good news for Iona as they head to the Championship round, where they must win twice, is that they accomplished the feat last year, and against the same team. This may be Iona's last chance to win a title for a while, so expect them to throw the kitchen sink into their effort. They will probably try to treat the day as a regular doubleheader; throwing one of their star pitchers in each game. That seems to be their best chance against a team that has never won a MAAC Championship, and was stunned last season by Iona's seventh inning comeback in the second game.

Canisius finishes their season at 20-30.

Phew...that was a l o n g day of softball!

Canisius Eliminates Marist

Lizzy Gatto will finish her career as most proficient base stealer in MAAC history

Canisius 4
Marist 1

Box Score

The Marist Red Foxes completed their 2012 season after falling to Canisius 4-1 Friday at the MAAC Championship in Poughkeepsie, NY

After a long wait, these two teams finally got to get on the field for the second game of the day. The game was scoreless until the top of the fourth inning when the Griffs' senior Lizzy Gatto led off with a single. She stole second base, and after an error by Dani Koltz, found herself on third. A nicely executed suicide squeeze bunt by Stephanie Pfentner gave Canisius a 1-0 lead. The Golden Griffins added three more runs in the top of the fifth inning. Erica Afanador led off with a walk, and was sent home by Lauren Falzone's double for a 2-0 Canisius lead. After Katie Lancellotti singled, Marist starter Emily Osterhaus issued an intentional walk to Lizzy Gatto. But Val Nappo stepped up to double home a pair of runs, and give her team a 4-0 advantage. Marist responded with a solo homer by Haley Birnbaum in the bottom of the same inning, but could get no closer, and saw their season come to an end. Caroline Main earned the win for Canisius.

Lizzy Gatto stole a pair of bases, and will finish her career as the second most proficient base stealer in national history; and best ever in the MAAC. Marist finished their 2012 season with a 28-27 record.

Fairfield Advances To Championship Saturday With Marathon Win Over Iona

Kim Kurata drove home the winner in the 15th inning

Fairfield 2
Iona 1 (15)

The Fairfield Stags outlasted the Iona Gaels in a tense 15 inning winner's bracket game Friday at the MAAC Championship in Poughkeepsie, NY.


Fairfield and Iona just went toe-to-toe in a grueling extra innings game for the right to assume the driver's seat on Saturday.

All the pitchers were great (there were two for each team). Iona was one out away from a perfect game win...but ended up losing. Becca Trott started for Fairfield, was removed for a couple innings then came back in cold in the sixth inning. Two keys plays happened. The Gaels' Jodi Petersen singled with one out, then found herself in a pickle between first and second. After many throws she made it safely to second base, only to inexplicably walk off the bag. She was tagged and then called out. The mental error would cost Iona dearly, as the very next batter, Allison Hand, drove a pitch over the right field fence for a 1-0 lead that should have been 2-0.

On the other side, Alyssa Maiese was pitching a brilliant game for Iona. The game's leadoff batter, Kristen Filicia, drove a long out to the fence. But after that, nothing. It was 15 up, and 15 down for Alyssa, the surprise late starter for the Gaels. But for some reason, Coach Roni Rivera pulled her after the fifth. Sarah Jackson came in, and retired her first five batters. But with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, the Stags' Lauren Liseth crushed a pitch over the center field fence, and the game went to extras. Long extras. Both teams had a few chances, but could not convert. In the top of the 15th inning, Rae Ball, who had struck out her previous five at bats, led off with a single, and got to second base on a wild pitch by Alyssa Maiese, who had re-entered the game after the hit. Then Kimi Kurata came in, and smashed a pitch all the way to the wall for a double, and the winning RBI.

It will go down as a classic MAAC game of all time. Fairfield will next play Saturday, with two chances at the title. Iona must play again later today, and can not lose again.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Kristen Filicia Stuns Canisius With Walk Off Homer

Kristen Filicia beat Canisius and the wind

Fairfield 4
Canisius 3

Box Score

Fairfield and Canisius played down to the wire, with the Stags prevailing on the opening day of the MAAC Championship in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Jen Consaul started in the circle for Canisius, and got into trouble very early. With one out in the bottom of the first inning, Sammy Ruffolo got things started for the Stags with a single to center field. A crucial error by shortstop Katie Lancellotti then allowed Lauren Liseth to reach base. Then with two outs, Rae Ball smashed a pitch down the left field line which got by outfielder Michelle DelPrince and allowed two runs to score. In the second inning, Jen Consaul issued a two out bases loaded walk that gave Fairfield a 3-0 lead, and ended her day. She was replaced by Caroline Main, who would go on to strike out eight Stags, and allow only one hit. But it was a huge hit.

In the meantime, the Golden Griffins mounted a comeback. In the top of the fifth inning, Val Nappo led off by smashing a Becca Trott pitch over the center field fence, cutting the Fairfield lead to two runs. In the top of the sixth inning, Lizzy Gatto hit a high fly ball to left field, which the wind blew back into the infield. Left fielder Tiffany Lawson got to the ball, but it bounced of her glove for an error, leaving Lizzy on second base. Katie Medina followed by smashing a double to center, cutting the Stags' lead to 3-2. Katie seemingly reinjured her knee on the play and did not return. Fairfield was clinging to it's lead in the top of the seventh inning, when Stephanie Pfentner hit a "no doubter" over the center field fence to complete the comeback.

On to the bottom of the seventh inning. Up until that point, Caroline Main was masterful, not allowing a hit in four innings of relief. But Fairfield would find power from an unlikely source. With one out, Kristen Filicia, known more for her great base running, stunned the crowd by driving a pitch through the wind and over the left field fence for the win. The Fairfield bench erupted; the Canisius bench sat in shock. Becca Trott earned the win for the Stags.

Fairfield advances to the winner's bracket against Iona at 11 am Friday. Immediately following, Canisius and Marist will try to stave off elimination.

Gaels' Pitching Duo Shuts Down Marist

Alyssa Maiese pitched her team out of a big jam to preserve win

Iona 3
Marist 0

Box Score

The Iona Gaels began their quest to repeat as champions with a 3-0 win over Marist on day one of the MAAC Championship in Poughkeepsie, NY.

I had a feeling that after the Marist comeback of Sunday in New Rochelle, Iona coach Roni Rivera would not hesitate to use both of her pitchers in a tournament game. The Red Foxes had the better chances early in this one, advancing runners to second and third bases twice by the fourth inning. When it happened again in the fifth inning, Coach Rivera made her move, and relieved senior Sarah Jackson with fifth year senior Alyssa Maiese. But before that, the Gaels took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. A slow infield roller by Allison Hand and an error by shortstop Alyssa Zhaka put two runners on quickly for the Gaels. Alyssa Maiese then smashed a pitch to right field that seemed to tie Aly Klemmer in knots. Perhaps the wind played tricks on the ball. The runners had to hold, not knowing if the ball was going to be caught. It wasn't; and Marist executed a perfect relay that got Allison Hand just before she touched home. But Deanne Algeo followed immediately with a single to right field that scored Eileen McCann with the game's first run. An Allyssa James grounder then scored Alyssa Maiese for a 2-0 lead.

Iona took that lead into the top of the fifth inning, when the Red Foxes started to get to Sarah Jackson. Sarah began the frame by hitting Ashley Corriss with a pitch. The next batter, Megan Lamoureux, just missed tying the game with a long hit to center field, that was good for a double, and once again put Red Foxes on second and third. Coach Rivera then brought in Alyssa Maiese to pitch, and she began with a huge strikeout of Dani Koltz, she with the 39 RBIs. Alyssa then got another heavy hitter, Nicole DiVirgilio, to foul out to the shallow left side. The Red Foxes' top hitter, Alysa Zhaka, then quickly flew out to right, and you could feel the air coming out of the Marist balloon so to speak. They never had another threat after that. Iona added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth inning when Jodi Petersen singled home Brianna Schauer, who had reached base with a double.

So Coach Rivera deserves credit for being flexible with her star pitchers in these crucial games. Marist just could not get the key hit they needed in the offensive situations where they could have scored. Sarah Jackson did earn the win, with Alyssa Maiese picking up a save. Emily Osterhaus suffered the loss for Marist.

Iona progresses to the winner's bracket, where they will play Fairfield at 11 am on Friday. Marist will play Canisius in the loser's bracket game immediately following.

MAAC Tournament Begins Today

#1 Iona Gaels
vs. the field: 4-2
Team batting in conference: .260
Team pitching in conference: 0.64
Leading hitter: Eileen McCann .347
Leading pitcher: Sarah Jackson 1.32

#2 Fairfield Stags
vs. the field: 3-3
Team batting in conference: .248
Team pitching in conference: 1.66
Leading hitter: Kristen Filicia .325
Leading Pitcher: Becca Trott 2.29

#3 Canisius Golden Griffins
vs. the field: 2-4
Team batting in conference: .280
Team pitching in conference: 2.21
Leading hitter: Katie Medina .318
Leading pitcher: Corinne Schaus 2.76

#4 Marist Red Foxes
vs. the field: 3-3
Team batting in conference: .309
Team pitching in conference: 2.91
Leading hitter: Alyssa Zhaka .337
Leading pitcher: Melanie White 3.07

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

MAAC Stars Of The Year*

*Not the official MAAC Players Of The Year, but as chosen by this blog

Player Of The Year

Rachael Matreale, Rider Broncs

No one in the MAAC was more valuable to her team than Rider's senior pitcher Rachael Matreale. Although the Broncs fell short in the last weekend of the season, Rachael lifted her team from the bottom of the standings into serious contention. She led the conference in wins, and strikeouts; and posted an ERA of 2.04. All this while usually pitching both ends of MAAC doubleheaders. Her coach asked an awful lot of her, and she delivered on all counts.

Pitcher Of The Year

Sarah Jackson, Iona Gaels

Sarah will be remembered as a legendary figure of Iona College Softball. She transformed the Gaels into a championship team, leading them to their first (and second, and maybe third) MAAC title. She had her best season in 2012, with a miniscule ERA of 1.32, striking out 211 batters. She is nationally ranked in the top 20 pitchers. Opposing MAAC teams dread facing her, and plan their game around her. Any team wanting to win it all this season must beat Sarah. Probably twice.

Freshman Of The Year

Nicole Olmedo, Saint Peter's Peahens

In 2012, Nicole became the first serious offensive threat the Peahens have had in many seasons. She finished her freshman year among the conference's leaders in batting average, home runs and RBIs. She is the foundation of a rebuilding softball program at St. Peter's.

2012 MAAC All-Stars*

*Not the official All-MAAC Team, but as chosen by this blog


Sarah Jackson and Alyssa Maiese, Iona Gaels
It's a tie!
15-11; 1.32 ERA; 211 strikeouts

15-10; 1.38 ERA; 190 strikeouts

Designated Player

Jessika-Jo Sandrini, Siena Saints
.403; 13 Home Runs; 39 RBIs; .771 Slugging %; 32 Runs

First Base

Nicole DiVirgilio, Marist Red Foxes
.314; 4 Home Runs; 29 RBIs

Second Base

Kristen Filicia, Fairfield Stags
.325; 30 Runs; 24 Stolen Bases


Shannon Jones, Siena Saints
.434; 14 Home Runs; 43 RBIs; .836 Slugging %; 46 Runs

Third Base

Dani Koltz, Marist Red Foxes
.323; 8 Home Runs; 39 RBIs; 27 Runs


Nastasha Powlowsky, Siena Saints
.323; 4 Home Runs; 33 RBIs


Ashley Corriss, Marist Red Foxes
.327; 36 Runs

Lizzy Gatto, Canisius Golden Griffins
.305; 6 Home Runs; 23 RBIs; 33 Runs; 17 Stolen Bases

Eileen McCann, Iona Gaels
.347; 7 Home Runs, 16 RBIs; 25 Runs

Monday, May 7, 2012

Top MAAC Softball Freshmen Of 2012

Ally Breeden, Rider Broncs
.277; 3 HRs; 27 RBIs

Fran D'Amato, St. Peter's Peahens
.266; 13 RBIs

Michelle DelPrince, Canisius Golden Griffins
.260; 2 HRs; 15 RBIs; 9 Steals

Ambur Farmer, Niagara Purple Eagles
3 HRs; 24 Runs; 9 Steals

Robin Kennery, Canisius Golden Griffins
.287; 25 RBIs; 11 Steals

Taylor Kuzma, Marist Red Foxes
.267; 10 Steals

Janine Lalli, Marist Red Foxes
8-1; 3.69 ERA

Gina McCool, Rider Broncs
.251; 17 Runs

Nicole Olmedo, Saint Peter's Peahens
.312; 8 HRs; 23 RBIs

Sammy Ruffolo, Fairfield Stags
.293; 15 Steals

Brianna Schauer, Iona Gaels
.244; 16 RBIs

Corinne Schaus, Canisius Golden Griffins
3-2; 2.66 ERA

Meg Volz, Siena Saints
.250; 3 HRs; 22 RBIs

Melanie White, Marist Red Foxes
3.07 ERA; 5-10

MAAC Stars Of The Week* 5/7/12

*Not the official MAAC Players Of The Week, but as chosen by this blog

Player Of The Week

Alli Wigand, Fairfield Stags

In four conference games, Alli hit for a .417 average. She also drove home three runs, two of which were game winners.

Pitcher Of The Week

Caroline Main, Canisius Golden Griffins

Caroline pitched in each of the Golden Griffins' conference games this past week, all wins. She won two games, saved two others, had an ERA of 0.69 and struck out 14 batters.

Freshman Of The Week

Sammy Ruffolo, Fairfield Stags

In four conference games this past weekend, Sammy hit for a .545 average, and scored the winning run in the Stags' nine inning win vs. Siena

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Improbable Comeback Lifts Red Foxes To Tournament Berth

Aly Klemmer saved the season with her huge hit in game one

Marist 3
Iona 2 (8)

Iona 3
Marist 0

Game One Box

Game Two Box

A dramatic win in game one of their doubleheader split with the Iona Gaels gained the Marist Red Foxes a tournament berth Sunday in New Rochelle, NY. The Gaels secured the number one seed with their game two shutout win.

It was looking grim for Marist. Over in Connecticut, their rivals for the final spot in the MAAC Tournament, Siena, had a 3-1 lead in their game. Back in New Rochelle, Sarah Jackson was staring them down from the circle in the seventh inning with a 2-0 lead, two outs and empty bases. Who would bet against the MAAC's top pitcher in that situation?
Iona was cruising along in a by now typical Sarah Jackson game in the first match of this doubleheader. The Gaels jumped in front 2-0 in the first inning with RBIs by Deanne Algeo and Allyssa James. For the first 6 2/3 innings, Sarah did not allow a Red Fox to reach second base. But with their backs firmly against the wall, Marist responded. In that seventh inning, with two outs, Alyssa Zhaka singled. Haley Birnbaum then stepped up and singled also, and Marist had their first runner at second. Aly Klemmer then took the first Sarah Jackson offering she saw, and stroked it to center field for two runs and a tie game, renewing hope on the Marist side. Iona didn't lay down in shock though. They loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning, and brought up the dangerous Alyssa Maiese. Marist starter Emily Osterhaus got her to fly out however, and the game went to extras. With new found confidence, Marist went on the attack in the top of the eighth inning. Ashley Corriss got it started with a one out single, followed by Megan Lamoureux's base hit. With two outs, Nicole DiVirgilio punched a single to right field that scored Ashley and gave Marist the 3-2 lead. Deanne Algeo led off the bottom of the eighth for the Gaels with a double, but Emily Osterhaus got the next three Gaels to secure the huge comeback win that ultimately landed them in the postseason.

An Iona loss in game two would have knocked them from the top seed, so the Gaels were motivated for revenge. Which is what they got with a 3-0 win, led by Alyssa Maiese's pitching performance which saw her scatter five hits and never let Marist get in the game. The Gaels picked up a pair of runs in the third inning with an Alyssa Maiese RBI single, a hit which also allowed Eileen McCann to score after an errant throw. Iona added another run in the fourth inning when Brianna Schauer sent Chelsea Sheehan home via an infield single. Alyssa Maiese was 2 for 2 in the game, and struck out nine Red Foxes.

Marist lost three of four games this weekend, but got in thanks to their dramatic comeback. They will be the number four seed, and open against the same Iona team. But they will be playing on their home field.
Iona wins the regular season title with a 12-4 record, and will now attempt to become only the second MAAC team to win three consecutive championships.

Golden Griffins Return To Tournament With Sweep Of Rider

Katie Medina's first inning homer in game one set the pace for the Griffs

Canisius 8
Rider 2

Canisius 3
Rider 2

Game One Box

Game Two Box

The Canisius Golden Griffins clinched a berth in the MAAC Tournament when they swept the Rider Broncs Sunday in Buffalo, NY.

It was a rare occurrence in 2011 when Canisius did not make an appearance in the MAAC Tournament, and the team made it their mission to get back this season. The Golden Griffins would need a win in their doubleheader against Rider to qualify, and got it in game one with an 8-2 win. The Griffs pounced on starter Rachael Matreale in the first inning, taking advantage of a Lucy Higgins error that allowed leadoff hitter Lauren Falzone to reach base. After Robin Kennery singled, which moved Lauren to third base, a passed ball gave Canisius a 1-0 lead. Katie Medina then stepped up and lifted a pitch just over the right field fence for a 3-0 lead. Rider had an excellent chance to get back into the game when they loaded the bases, with no outs, in the third inning. Alyssa Paul did drive home Lucy Higgins, who beat the throw, but Canisius starter Jen Consaul would get the next three outs to avoid a big inning by the Broncs. The Griffs got that run back in the bottom of the same inning when Katie Medina drove home Lizzy Gatto for her third RBI of the game. Rider pulled to within two in the top of the fifth inning when Sam Pugh, facing reliever Caroline Main, smashed a solo homer over the center field fence. But Canisius again responded in the same inning, this time scoring four runs. After Katie Lancellotti drew a walk, Robin Kennery doubled, which allowed Katie to score on a throwing error. Canisius would go on to load the bases for senior Lauryn Chris, who would smash a pitch to the left field gap for a double, clearing the bases and giving her team an 8-2 lead. Jen Consaul earned the win, with Caroline Main, who has been effective as a reliever, picking up the save. Rachael Matreale suffered the loss.

Rachael would make her final start in a Rider uniform in game two, pitching five innings. Rider relied heavily on her this season; and she gave everything she had. There probably wasn't a player more valuable to her team than Rachael. Canisius, however, jumped to a 2-0 first inning lead. Once again, leadoff hitter Lauren Falzone reached base due to an error. She scored when Lizzy Gatto roped a double down the right field line. Robin Kennery's single to center scored Lizzy, and the Griffs were up by a pair. Rider did come back to tie the game in the fourth inning with an Amanda Irving RBI and a wild pitch. But they never held the lead in this doubleheader. Canisius scored a run in the bottom of the sixth inning to win it. Katie Medina led off with a single. Her pinch runner, Chloe Contreras, was bunted to second base by Val Nappo; moved to third base by A Lauryn Chris single; and scored as a result of Stephanie Pfentner's sacrifice fly. Caroline Main, who relieved starter Corinne Schaus, earned the win.

Canisius finished very strongly after a rough start, and will open against Fairfield in the Tournament.
Rider finishes at 7-9, disappointed with their final weekend I'm sure. But the Broncs battled hard all season.

Stags Sweep Siena; Grab Number Two Seed

Rae Ball shut down the hard hitting Saints in game two

Fairfield 4
Siena 3 (9)

Fairfield 2
Siena 0

Game One Box
Game Two Box

The Fairfield Stags secured a berth in the upcoming MAAC Tournament when they swept the Siena Saints Sunday in Fairfield, CT.

Here was a big doubleheader which could have gone either way; perhaps Fairfield's experience pulled them through. Game one gave us yet another extra innings match, this time with the Stags winning 4-3 in nine. Fairfield scored first, in the bottom of the fourth inning, when after loading the bases, Tiffany Lawson lifted a fly ball deep enough to score Ali Wigand. Siena responded in the top of the fifth inning with three runs to take the lead. A Samantha Ray single and Shannon Jones double set up Jessika-Jo Sandrini, who singled home Samantha for one run. After a Nastasha Powlowsky walk, freshman Meg Volz singled home a pair, and Siena was up 3-1. That lead would last until the bottom of the sixth inning when Fairfield scored twice to tie the game. Kimi Kurata led off the frame with a blast over the center field fence to pull the Stags to within a run. Tiffany Lawson received a walk immediately following, and was bunted to second base by Nikki Osofsky. An infield hit by Kristen Filicia put runners at the corners before freshman Sammy Ruffolo singled home the tying run. The game went to extras, and the Saints had a chance to score in the eighth inning, but with runners on second and third and with one out, Stephanie Viggiano was tagged out in a rundown trying to make it home. Fairfield won the game in the ninth inning when Sammy Ruffolo led off with a single, was sacrificed over to second base by Lauren Liseth, and sent home by Ali Wigand's single. Becca Trott picked up the complete game win; Jessika-Jo Sandrini suffered the loss. Sammy Ruffolo was 3 for 5 in the game; for Siena, Jessika-Jo hit 4 for 5.

A win in game two would have put Siena in the tournament, but they simply could not solve the pitching of Rae Ball. Rae was masterful in her complete game win, scattering three hits against a desperate Siena team. Amanda Filappazzo pitched her last game in a Siena uniform, and also did very well, keeping her team in it until the end. The Stags put up the only run they would need in the first inning, thanks to the great base running of Kristen Filicia, who led off with a single. After stealing second base, then third base, she scored on a simple fielder's choice off the bat of Ali Wigand. Neither team threatened much after that, until Fairfield got their insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Tiffany Lawson's two out RBI, which scored Rae Ball, gave the Stags the 2-0 win.

With the sweep, Fairfield finishes in second place with an 11-5 record, and will open the MAAC Tournament against Canisius on Thursday.

Siena finishes 8-8. The Saints were one out away from qualifying; not in their game, but in a game Marist played, which you will read about later. It was a tough ending to the season for Siena, but they will be back with a strong lineup in 2013, and with a hunger I'm sure.