May 18, 2005
Three University of Notre Dame softball players have earned NFCA Mideast All-Region accolades, as announced by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association on Wednesday, May 18. Senior Megan Ciolli was named to the first team for the fourth consecutive season, becoming just the second Irish player to accomplish that feat. Senior Steffany Stenglein and freshman Katie Laing were named to the second team.
Both Ciolli (as a first-team selection) and Stenglein (as the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year) will move on to the national ballot for All-America consideration – which will be announced during the Women’s College World Series (beginning May 31).
The 2005 season marks the seventh straight season the Irish have earned at least one first-team all-region award.
Ciolli, who is hitting .387 this season with 27 RBI and 11 doubles, has enjoyed a stellar season on the base paths. The Terre Haute, Ind., native has 32 steals to her credit – 10 more than the previous season-best at Notre Dame. She has also set school career records for steals (75) and hits (282) while having the mark for runs scored (158) in her sights – just six behind the all-time career record.
A stellar offensive star since she stepped on campus four years ago, Ciolli is ranked in the all-time top 10 in batting average, games played, at bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs and RBI. In 2005, she has led the Irish in batting average, hits and stolen bases during the entire season. Ciolli joins Terri Kobata (1993-1996) as the only Irish players to earn first-team all-region honors four consecutive seasons. She also is a four-time first-team all-BIG EAST selection.
Stenglein has capped her outstanding career with a stellar campaign in 2005. She has dominated opposing hitters, piling up 293 strikeouts (11.1 per seven innings) with a 0.98 ERA and 21 victories. The 2005 BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year (which automatically qualifies her for All-America consideration), Stenglein won nine league games with a 0.32 ERA.
Similar to her classmate, Megan Ciolli, Stenglein has left her impression on the all-time charts as well. She is first all-time in pitching appearances (151) and games started (130) and ranks second in innings pitched, strikeouts and wins.
Laing, who has started 55 of 57 games this season for the Irish at both shortstop and second base, joins Notre Dame’s recent legacy of freshman all-region awardwinners. Meagan Ruthrauff (2003), Ciolli (2002), Kristin Schmidt (2001), Jarrah Myers (1999), Elizabeth Perkins (1994) and Sara Hayes (1992) earned all-region honors as a rookie.
One of Notre Dame’s top hitters during the 2005 season, Laing is hitting .310 this season with 17 doubles (tied for the school single-season record) three home runs and 23 RBI. A first-team all-BIG EAST selection, Laing also has stolen six bases and made just six errors in the field (logging most of her time at second base).
Fans will be able to see Notre Dame’s three all-region awardwinners and five from Northwestern live at Ivy Field this weekend when the NCAA Region No. 9 tournament begins on Friday, May 20, with Notre Dame facing Louisville at 12 noon. Northwestern will take on Albany at 2:30 p.m.
2005 Mideast All-Region
Lisa Birocci – Iowa
Courtnay Foster – Northwestern
Stephanie Churchwell – Northwestern
Shelli Messer – Purdue
Andrea Hillsey – Purdue
Garland Cooper – Northwestern
Rachel Folden – Marshall
Megan Ciolli – Notre Dame
Amanda Williams – Marshall
Stephanie Sward – Minnesota
Emily Nichols – Iowa
Steffany Stenglein – Notre Dame
Tracie Adix – DePaul
Eileen Canney – Northwestern
Jackie Poggendorf – Miami (Ohio)
Megan Higginbotham – Minnesota
Saskia Roberson – DePaul
Katie Laing – Notre Dame
Jessica McGivney – Indiana State
Stacy May – Iowa
Anastasia Miller – Wisconsin
Erin Mobley – Northwestern
Stacey Speshyock – IUPUI
Sandy Vojik – DePaul