Sunday, February 2, 2014

2014 MAAC Preview - Canisius College

Senior Jen Consaul was again solid in MAAC play in '13
Last season: The Golden Griffins finished out of the tournament with a 6-10 record in 2013; 22-25 overall. This season they lose two pitchers, one to graduation and another who left school.

2014 roster: Canisius will have two seniors on their roster, both of whom will be asked to play key roles. Pitcher Jen Consaul had a productive 2013 season despite the team's losing record, posting a 15-13 record with a 2.36 ERA. She ranked fourth in the MAAC in conference play with a 2.35 ERA. First baseman/outfielder Val Nappo improved her batting average 24 points last season, hitting .264, while driving home 15 runs.

All-MAAC infielder Robin Kennery leads the juniors this season after having a fabulous 2013 season. Robin improved her batting average 75 points, finishing at .350. Versatile offensively, she can hit for power (3 home runs, 39 RBIs), and also run well (7 doubles, 6 stolen bases, 25 runs). Outfielder Michelle DelPrince improved her batting average 67 points last season, finishing at .315. She also contributed 16 RBIs, six stolen bases, 28 runs and 12 extra base hits. Designated Player Marissa Miller had a breakthrough season in '13 after overcoming some injury problems earlier in her career, hitting four home runs with 17 RBIs in 26 starts. Kalie Michalski, used mostly as a pinch runner, scored six runs last season.

Infielder Erica Afanador will be a redshirt sophomore this season after missing most of 2013 with injury. Infielder Meghan Cuda had a great beginning to her career making All-MAAC her freshman season after hitting .346, with seven triples, tops in the conference. Her 14 stolen bases were among the leaders in the MAAC also. Another Canisius freshman who had a solid career start was Bethany DeMarco, who hit .296 with a pair of homers and 17 RBIs. Centerfielder Tori Nappo slumped at the end of 2013, but still finished among the team leaders with 21 RBIs. She hit .230. Shortstop Alexis Roman hit .235 as a freshman, with 11 RBIs and 15 runs. Pitcher Jenn Solis saw limited action as a freshman, but did finish with a 2-2 record.

Canisius will have five freshmen on the squad this season, hoping to get help in the circle and the outfield. Pitcher Sarah Andrews will have ample opportunity for innings with the early departure of Corinne Schaus. Outfielder Jessica Berzins sat out her freshman season at Northridge, and signed with Canisius instead. Samantha Sharkey can play outfield as well as infield. Taylor Decker and Lindsey Silfer both have much catching experience.

Outlook: The once mighty Golden Griffins have failed to qualify for the MAAC tournament twice in the past three seasons. They were solid offensively in 2013, but after Jen Consaul saw a big dropoff in their pitching. They also struggled greatly defensively, something not ordinary under Coach Rappl. Jen Consaul has improved her performance every season; I would expect the same this year. She's been very good in conference play too, but one of the young pitchers will have to step up and help for Canisius to get to the tournament even with what should be a dynamic offensive attack.

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