Monday, December 23, 2013
The MAAC announced today that they will be expanding the conference's softball championship tournament to six teams and four days, effective this season.
The 2014 MAAC Softball Championship format has been expanded (to) a six team format over four days of competition with the first day of competition beginning on Wednesday, May 7. The championship will be held at Alumni Softball Field on the campus of Fairfield University from May 7 – 10 with the Sunday, May 11 as the rain day. The Committee on Athletic Administration plans to review the bracket for the six team format to provide the best experience for the student athletes participating.
With the conference having expanded for this season this is a great idea, and will make the regular season much more exciting.
Last season: The Red Foxes won the MAAC championship, finishing with a 30-26 record, 10-6 in the conference. They lose key players to graduation, but bring aboard a talented freshman class.
2014 roster: All-MAAC catcher Alyssa Zahka will lead a productive and experienced senior class this season. Alyssa had a fabulous junior season, hitting .371 with eight home runs and 41 RBIs. She's also outstanding behind the plate, committing only three errors last year. Aly Klemmer has been very consistent over her career, hitting 19 home runs while averaging over 20 RBIs per season. She had her best season in 2013, hitting .316. She will play first base and outfield. Infielder Haley Birnbaum saw limited action in 2013, but she's a player who drove home 59 runs her first two seasons of play. Pitcher Paige Lewis has a career record of 25-20, and will have the opportunity to step into a primary circle role.
Junior pitchers Melanie White and Janine Lalli will be called upon to take a greater role in the circle this season with the graduation of Emily Osterhaus. Both have had periods of great pitching. Janine has a career record of 15-4; Melanie stands at 8-16, but with an ERA of 3.16. Outfielder Taylor Kuzma slumped last season, and will look to return to her freshman season form when she hit .262 and stole 10 bases.
Nicole Cheek leads a talented sophomore class. Nicole was named twice to the All-MAAC team (as a designated player and outfielder). She pounded out 15 homers, and set the Marist RBI record with 52 as a freshman. She hit .348, led the team with a .663 slugging percentage and also scored 43 runs. After a slow start, speedy outfielder Maureen Duddy surged in the second half of the 2013 season, finishing with a .311 average. She stole 14 bases, and scored 39 runs. Infielder Kyrsten Van Natta was setting the MAAC on fire early in the season, before settling into a final .266 batting average, stealing 15 bases. Colleen McWilliams hit only .138 in limited action as a freshman, but did hit two homers with 10 RBIs.
The Red Foxes have another strong class of recruits joining the team this season, and they all figure to see significant playing time. Janna Korak and Rebecca Freeman can hit for power. Jordynn Jo Barrera has all around ability. Jayne Oberdorf will have a chance for significant circle time. Under Coach Ausanio, if a freshman can produce, she will play regularly.
Outlook: Although Marist lost some key players to graduation, they still have the pieces in place to repeat as MAAC champions. They are a well coached team with a well rounded and versatile roster. Add to that the invaluable experience of winning it all, and the Red Foxes should be in the thick of things in 2014.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Coming back north, Iona will open their home schedule on March 25 when they host local rival St. John's. MAAC play for the Gaels will begin at home vs. St. Peter's on March 29. They will host Monmouth for the first ever MAAC doubleheader with that school on April 12. The next day the Gaels travel to Quinnipiac for the first conference meeting with the Bobcats. Iona will have 11 home dates, including a doubleheader vs. regional power Hofstra on April 9.
2014 Iona schedule
Marist will open their home schedule on March 25 when they host Columbia for a doubleheader. On March 29, the champs will open MAAC play at Fairfield. They will play their first conference doubleheader vs. Monmouth on April 5 in West Long Branch, NJ. They will host new MAAC rival on April 26. Marist will have nine home dates in 2014.
2014 Marist schedule
Canisius will travel back east, and immediately begin MAAC play with a doubleheader at local rival Niagara on March 29. The Griffs will open their home schedule on April 1 against another local rival, Buffalo. New MAAC rival Monmouth will make their first ever appearance at the Demske Sports Complex on April 27. Canisius will play their first ever conference doubleheader vs. Quinnipiac on May 4 in Hamden, CT.
Canisius will have nine home dates in 2014, highlighted by a doubleheader vs. state rival Syracuse on April 24.
2014 Canisius schedule