Monday, January 13, 2014

2014 MAAC Preview - Siena College

Siena looks to make more history in '14
Last season: The Saints won the MAAC regular season title in 2013, making the tournament for the first time in a decade and finishing with a 12-4 conference record (21-26 overall). They of course lose maybe their all-time player, Shannon Jones, to graduation, as well as Mandy Ferro.

2014 roster: Siena will have just one senior in tow for the 2014 season, but she is one of the best players in the MAAC. Pitcher/designated hitter Jessika-Jo Sandrini had another fabulous season in 2013, once again making the All-MAAC team twice (as a pitcher and utility player). At the plate, she hit .361 while driving home 31 runs. She also was among the nations leaders for reaching base after getting hit by pitches (25)...she will produce offensively any way she can. She hit .410 in MAAC games. As a pitcher, J-J began the season with some nagging injuries, but ended with a 15-9 record. In conference, she was 11-3 with a 2.44 ERA---her pitching took Siena all the way to the top.

After transferring to Siena for her sophomore season, Paige Lloyd burned up the MAAC with a .377 batting average, leading the team with eight home runs while contributing 34 RBIs. All of which earned her All-MAAC honors. Meg Volz drove home 30 runs while batting .237. Abby Carpenter hit .257, chipping in two homers and 19 RBIs. Stephanie Viggiano had a solid sophomore season, hitting .266. Lauren Milligan hit .217; Chelsea Stout hit .186. Toni Edwards was 3-7 in the circle.

Leading the sophomores this season is All-MAAC utility player Alyssa Lancaster, who hit .367 with 30 RBIs in 2013. She also pitched 88 innings. Melanie Kalesse hit .244, leading the team in stolen bases while scoring 29 runs. Jordan Sandrini hit .208; Mikaela Searight .167. Mackenzie Cronin saw limited time in the circle.

The Saints will have two freshman pitchers this season, Katie Casey and Danielle Cacciola, both of whom will compete for circle time. Nastasha Powlowsky's sister Mikayla joins the team in 2014. Chelsey Drew and Bridget Connors are also newcomers.

Outlook: Life without Shannon Jones begins now for Siena, and someone will have to step up to replace her production, but the Saints still have the players and experience in place to make a serious run for a MAAC championship behind the bat and arm of Jessika-Jo Sandrini.

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