- 37 Jodi Petersen OF Senior
- 11 Eileen McCann OF Senior
- 12 Beth Kann UT Senior
- 45 Cari Anderson C Senior
- 33 Paige Murray OF Junior
- 17 Katie Jansson C Junior
- 8 Brianna Schauer SS Sophomore
- 1 Allison Hand IF/OF Sophomore
- 10 Carly Argyle P Sophomore
- 18 Sarah Schutz IF Freshman
- 2 Brianna King C Freshman
- 13 Sydney Dimon IF Freshman
- 24 Jordan Courage P Freshman
- 5 Christine Costello P Freshman
Christmas is over, and I hope you all had a very nice one. For us though, that means that we are in countdown mode to the new MAAC softball season! Over the next month, I will give my take on the state of MAAC softball with individual school previews, beginning with the defending champion Iona College Gaels.
See that photo above? That's the 2010 edition of the Gaels; the one that was beginning a dynasty by winning their first of three consecutive titles. Most everyone in that photo is gone now, including the coach. College careers are short; turnover is constant. No one in the MAAC will have a more profound turnover than the Gaels. The Sarah Jackson era is over (she's a pitching coach with George Washington currently). She'll never be forgotten, but now Iona softball must move on.
The Gaels are this season's biggest question mark. They have a new head coach, Melissa Inouye, who has a very impressive background as an assistant, most recently at Fordham. She's also a former division 1 student-athlete and captain. This will be her first head coaching opportunity. She inherits a team that knows nothing but winning; yet she will have to reshape them after the loss, to graduation, of a pair of All-MAAC pitchers that dominated the other teams in the conference...even intimidated them.
The Gaels will be led this season by a pair of senior All-MAAC outfielders. One of the conference's top players, Eileen McCann (pictured left), enters her final season already holding the school's all-time career home run record. She had a great 2012 season, leading the team in hitting and runs scored. More importantly, she's a dedicated athlete who shows up for every game. Most importantly, she knows how to win once MAAC season begins. So Eileen has two missions this season. First off, I know she wants to win it all again in spite of this being a very different Gael team from the previous three seasons. But also, and in particular with a brand new coach, she will be passing along the legacy of Iona softball to the young players. Eileen has played like a champion from the start, and the Iona program will want to keep that attitude after she has departed. Senior Jodi Petersen did suffer a sophomore slump after winning MAAC Rookie Of The Year; but she came back strong in 2012, particularly later in the season during the big games. The Gaels' leadoff hitter can do it all; she can hit for average or power, and is a very good runner. Jodi stole 15 bases in 2012, which was three more than her combined career total entering that season. Of course, Jodi is part of the winning tradition also. The other two seniors on the team, Beth Kann and Cari Anderson have not seen as much action as Eileen and Jodi, but should be in the lineup more often in 2012, lending experience.
Yes, the Iona Gaels are the big mystery of the MAAC in 2013. During their championship runs, the Gaels were never the team to get into shootouts with their opponents. They had their lock down pitcher, and oftentimes scratching out a few runs was all they needed. Suddenly, the spotlight is on the circle. With their experience, if the Gaels get at least decent pitching, they can make a run for a tournament spot. If one of their young pitchers performs at an All-MAAC level, we could be hearing "fourpeat!". At the very least, the new staff will obtain the seasoning necessary to compete in the future.
Next up: The Fairfield Stags