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Irish Eyes On Regional Title This Weekend As Softball Travels To Iowa City

May 14, 2002

Click here for the complete notes package about the Notre Dame softball team in the NCAA Region VII Tournament. Statistical breakdowns, short player biographies, updated season records, BIG EAST Conference history and NCAA Tournament history sections are included.
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2002 NCAA Championship * Region VII * Iowa City, Iowa

Thursday, May 16

Game 1: No. 1 Nebraska vs. No. 6 Illinois-Chicago, 11:30 a.m.

Game 2: No. 2 Oregon State vs. No. 5 Wisconsin, 2:00 p.m.

Game 3: No. 3 Notre Dame vs. No. 4 Iowa, 4:30 p.m.

Game 4: Loser Game One vs. Loser Game Two, 7:00 p.m.

Friday, May 17

Game 5: Loser Game Three vs. Winner Game Four, 2:00 p.m.

Game 6: Winner Game Two vs. Winner Game Three, 4:30 p.m.

Game 7: Winner Game Two vs. Winner Game Five, 7:00 p.m.

Play continues on Saturday and Sunday as well.

Live coverage:

Fans unable to attend this weekend’s NCAA Region VII Tournament will get a chance to follow the action via live statistics on the world wide web. A link will be available on that will connect to the University of Iowa’s live statistics server.

Irish ready for second consecutive trip to Iowa City, Iowa, for the NCAA Championship:

The 2002 BIG EAST Champion University of Notre Dame softball team (42-15) will return to Iowa City, Iowa, for the 2002 NCAA Region VII Tournament. The Irish are the #3 seed in the field and will take on fourth-seeded Iowa at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 16. The Hawkeyes eliminated top-seeded Notre Dame last season on its way to a berth in the College World Series. The Irish finished 3-2 in last season’s Region VII tournament, dropping both games to Iowa but defeating DePaul, Western Illinois and Illinois State.

Notre Dame vs. Iowa series history and team analysis:

Notre Dame and Iowa will meet for the sixth time on Thursday, May 16, at 4:30 p.m. The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series 4-1, including two victories in last season’s Region VII tournament, which also was hosted by Iowa.

Iowa is 35-18 this season and finished Big Ten Conference play with a 12-4 record. Shortstop Kristin Johnson is currently leading the team in batting average with a .382 mark and has 12 doubles, six triples and 33 stolen bases.

Last season’s Region VII Most Outstanding Player, Kristi Hanks, returns this season for the Hawkeyes. She is 19-12 this season with a 1.71 ERA in 192.2 innings pitched.

They have a history:

Iowa was able to put a bittersweet end to the most successful season of softball at Notre Dame last year. Issuing 6-0 and 6-2 wins over the Irish last season, the Hawkeyes were led by eventual tournament Most Outstanding Player Kristi Hanks (who returns this season as well).

Notre Dame actually out-hit the Hawkeyes in game one last season (9-6), but could not get the big hit it needed. The Irish also committed an uncharacteristic three errors in the elimination game.

Familiar opponents:

Notre Dame has already faced three of the Region VII tournament participants this season. Notre Dame defeated #4 Nebraska 3-2 in Lincoln on April 23, defeated Illinois-Chicago 11-6 at Ivy Field on April 4 and dropped a 4-0 decision to #11 Oregon State early in the season on Feb. 22.

Among the leading hitters for the Irish in these previous meetings are Alexis Madrid (.375), Jenny Kriech (.364) and Megan Ciolli (.333). Liz Hartmann has five RBI in the three games, while Lisa Mattison has four.

2002 schedule one of the strongest in school history:

The Irish enter the 2002 NCAA Championship with a 42-15 record and eight of those losses have come to teams ranked higher than Notre Dame in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25.

As of May 15, the Irish schedule reflects 11 ranked opponents. Notre Dame has been close to knocking off many of its top-ranked foes as well as defeating #4 Nebraska in Lincoln on April 23, and #18 DePaul on May 2. The Irish also dropped hard-fought 3-2 decisions to #8 Arizona State, #4 Oklahoma and #10 Fresno State in the first month of the season.

The record for ranked opponents faced is 13 from the 1998 and 2001 seasons. Notre Dame is already scheduled to face #22 Iowa in the Region VII Tournament, and could face #7 Nebraska and/or #16 Oregon State to transform the 2002 schedule into the toughest in school history.

Tough schedule part II:

In addition to facing 10 ranked opponents this season, 12 of the teams Notre Dame have faced this season are in the NCAA Championship field. The Irish are 5-8 in 13 games against those 12 teams, claiming victories over DePaul, Oakland, Nebraska, Illinois-Chicago and Auburn. The losses were suffered at the hands of Arizona (twice), Arizona State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Fresno State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Oregon State.

Deanna Gumpf continues her first season as head softball coach at the University of Notre Dame:

One of the top young coaches in the nation, Deanna Gumpf has taken over the Notre Dame softball program this season after four years as the top aide to Liz Miller – who retired at the end of the 2001 season.

In the four seasons Gumpf served as the Irish pitching and assistant coach, the team lowered its ERA and raised the team batting average each season, while also setting team records for strikeouts and home runs.

Already in the 2002 season, the Irish have set a number of home run records, including the most in a season (51 as of May 15) and number of different players hitting a home run (10 as of May 15). On May 9, Gumpf and her coaches earned the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year award after guiding the team through an 18-2 record during conference competition and eventually winning the 2002 BIG EAST Championship and regular-season crown.

Gumpf’s staff includes new assistant coaches Charmelle Green (formerly at Syracuse) and Kris McCleary (former Irish catcher – Class of ’99 – who served as an assistant at UNLV), along with volunteer assistant coach Bill Roggeman.

Gumpf earned her first career victory with a 3-2, 10-inning victory over Auburn in the Pepsi Arizona Classic.

Notre Dame rallies to capture third BIG EAST Championship crown:

After dropping the first game of the 2002 BIG EAST Championship to Virginia Tech 8-3, Notre Dame rattled off four consecutive wins in two days to earn its third BIG EAST Championship title and first since 2000.

Among the memorable moments for the Irish in the 2002 BIG EAST Championship were:

*Megan Ciolli’s two-run home run in the top of the seventh to put the Irish up 5-3 against Syracuse. Notre Dame would eventually win the game 5-4.

* Also against the Orangewomen, Carrie Wisen struck out Katie Kaempfer on a change up with a runner on first to end the game. Kaempfer had a team-record two home runs in the game against the Irish.

* After falling behind 1-4 against Villanova, the Irish rallied with five runs in their last six outs to stay alive in the tournament. The first big hit of the rally was posted by future tournament Most Outstanding Player Andrea Loman, who tripled in Ciolli early in the sixth inning.

* Later in the game against Villanova, Andria Bledsoe doubled to centerfield with two outs to provide an insurance run in the 6-4 Irish victory.

* Jenny Kriech scored the first run and doubled in the second in Notre Dame’s 2-1 victory over Virginia Tech to force a do-or-die championship game between the Irish and Hokies.

* A great hustle play by Jarrah Myers in game two against the Hokies enabled Ciolli to score the first run in a 3-1 victory. Myers slid in to second base ahead of a fielder’s choice flip from the Virginia Tech shortstop.

* Loman provided the game-winning hit with a two-RBI single in the second inning of game two against Virginia Tech.

Notre Dame in BIG EAST Conference regular-season competition:

The Irish began BIG EAST Conference play in 1996 and compiled a 19-1 record. Since that solid performance in their first season, the Irish have gone a combined 113-12 (.904) against conference foes during seven regular seasons.

Notre Dame in BIG EAST Conference regular-season competition:

1996: 19-1

1997: 16-4

1998: 13-3

1999: 16-0

2000: 14-2

2001: 20-0

2002: 18-2

Irish destroy season home run record:

A team-record five home runs against Providence (game two) on April 29 pushed the Irish well ahead of the team record for home runs in a season (previously 36). The team total stands at 51 as of May 15.

A team-record 10 different players have hit home runs for the team this season, including first career round trippers from Megan Ciolli, Annie Dell’Aria, Nicole deFau, Lisa Mattison, Carrie Wisen and Liz Hartmann.

Home run record #2:

In a season when your team sets a new mark for home runs in a season, one would expect a number of records to fall. That is the case this season.

Home run record #2 the Irish have set this season occurred against Providence in game two of the doubleheader. Notre Dame hit five home runs in the contest, setting a new mark for round trippers in a game.

In the game against the Friars, junior Lisa Mattison became the seventh Irish player to hit two home runs in one single contest.

Home run record #3:

The 2002 University of Notre Dame softball team has set yet another team record. With Liz Hartmann’s heroic home run in the top of the seventh against #4 Nebraska, 10 different players on the Irish roster have hit home runs this season.

That breaks the previous team-best of seven different hitters ‘going yard’ in 2000 and 2001.

In Notre Dame’s regular lineup, only Alexis Madrid has not launched a home run.

Home run record #4 – with a rookie twist:

Freshman Liz Hartmann has been on a tremendous hitting tear lately. Her seven home runs this season is a team record for a freshman, and all seven of those home runs have been hit in the last 17 games.

Hartmann set the rookie record for round trippers with a two-run blast in the first game of a doubleheader against Villanova. The previous record was held by Sara Hayes, who hit six home runs as a freshman in 1992.

Hartmann’s teammates Jarrah Myers (the all-time home run leader in Notre Dame history) and Andrea Loman both hit four home runs in their rookie campaigns.

Just call her – Miss Clutch:

Freshman leftfielder Liz Hartmann enters this weekend’s tournament with a .250 batting average. One could argue, though, that Hartmann has posted more important hits this season than any other Irish player. The Novato, Calif., native provided Notre Dame’s most dramatic hit of the season, belting a three-run home run in the top of the seventh at #4 Nebraska that proved to be the game winner. It was Hartmann’s first career round tripper.

Entering this weekend’s competition, Hartmann is hitting .313 with runners on base, .571 with the bases loaded and .419 with runners in scoring position. When provided an opportunity for an RBI with a runner on third and less than two out, Hartmann is hitting .769 this season. Completing her title as Miss Clutch, Hartmann leads the team in two-out RBI with 16.

Ten runs in first inning vs. Oakland ties school record:

Notre Dame’s big inning against Oakland tied the school mark for runs in an inning. The Irish plated 10 in the first, matching the number Notre Dame posted against Rutgers (also in the first inning) on April 30, 1996 (15-0 victory).

Irish post most significant win of the young Deanna Gumpf era at Nebraska on April 23:

The 2002 University of Notre Dame softball posted one of the biggest wins in the program’s history on Tuesday, April 23, upsetting #4 Nebraska 3-2 in Lincoln.

The Cornhuskers represent the highest-ranked team the Irish have ever defeated and freshman leftfielder Liz Hartmann provided the game-winning hit with a three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning.

It was a memorable return to her alma mater for first-year Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf, a 1992 Nebraska graduate.

Other stars for the Irish in the game included starting pitcher Steffany Stenglein (7.0 innings pitched, 2 runs, five strikeouts, five hits), Alexis Madrid (two for three, perfect on five defensive chances) and Andria Bledsoe (leadoff single in the seventh to kick-start Irish rally).

Offensive explosion vs. Indiana State has a place in the record books:

Notre Dame’s 14-1 and 11-2 victories in the April 17 doubleheader tied the school record for most runs in a two-game set against a Division I school. The Irish defeated Providence 16-0 and 9-3 at Ivy Field in 2000 to establish the record. Notre Dame’s all-time record for runs in a doubleheader is 28 against Bethel College (Ind.) in the first year of softball competition at the University – 1989.

April success:

It was hard to beat the 2001 Irish softball team’s perfect 23-0 record in the month of April last season, but the 2002 team gave its best shot last month. The 1996 (23-2), 1998 (23-3), 2001 (23-0) and 2002 (23-1) teams all won 23 games in the month of April. This April, Notre Dame matched the team record for wins in the month and clinched the second-best record in school history for the month (23-1, .958).

Early-season schedule among the toughest in school history:

Notre Dame’s early-season schedule, which has included #1/#2 Arizona (twice), #25 South Florida, #11 Oregon State, #8 Arizona State, #4 Oklahoma, #19 Louisiana-Lafayette and #10 Fresno State (all rankings reflect position at the time of the game), is among the toughest in school history. The Irish have battled each opponent to the end, including three one-run losses to Arizona State, Oklahoma and Fresno State by identical 3-2 scores.

Having an all-star season:

Irish third baseman Andrea Loman has developed into one of Notre Dame’s top offensive and defensive player this season. Loman is first on the team with a .390 batting average this season and has cracked 11 home runs, including a legendary shot to put the Irish ahead 2-0 over Long Beach State.

Loman’s 21 career home runs put her fourth on the all-time list.

Even though Loman has been one of the most consistent offensive threats for the Irish this season, her defensive play has been nothing short of spectacular.

Loman eliminates the sacrifice bunt, as she has shown time and time again she can get to the ball and throw the advancing runner out at the appropriate base. In 186 defensive chances this season, Loman has made just eight errors.

Loman will be playing over the next few weeks with a broken index finger on her right hand, suffered when she was hit by a pitch in a Seton Hall game. She played the rest of the doubleheader (actually hitting a home run in one of her at bats), but was affected on defense (committing two of her eight errors on the season – she has since made four errors playing with the injury).

New career home run leader:

Jarrah Myers ended her climb up the career home run leader chart in her first two at bats against Virginia Tech on Saturday, April 20. Her solo shot against the Hokies in the second inning was her eighth of the season, 31st of her career and second of the game.

Those 31 round-trippers surpassed the school record of 30, previously held by ’01 graduate Melanie Alkire.

Myers quickly added to her historical total, hitting #32 against Virginia Tech in game two. She currently has 35 in her career (and a personal-best tying 12 this season) as of May 15.

Kriech threatening more career records:

Senior centerfielder and 2001 All-American Jenny Kriech already has possession of the school record for career triples (19), but the Irish leadoff hitter is threatening various other marks as well.

Her 15 walks this season give her 66 for her career, which trails only teammate Jarrah Myers 75 for the all-time lead in that category. Kriech also might be able to reach the career record for steals, as she currently has 55. Katie Marten (1994-97) holds that record with 58.

Notre Dame softball standout Jarrah Myers named the 2001-02 BIG EAST/A?ropostale Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Myers will receive a $4,000 stipend which will be applied to graduate studies. The winner is determined by the league’s Academic Awards Committee.

A?ropostale Stores is the official apparel of BIG EAST Championships and is the sponsor of the Conference’s Post Graduate Student-Athlete Scholarship Program. This year A?ropostale will award 31 scholarships to Conference student-athletes to assist in their pursuit of graduate or professional studies. The Men’s and Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athletes will be announced in conjunction with the BIG EAST Men’s & Women’s Basketball Championships on March 1 and 5. A?ropostale is a popular clothing and accessories retailer that has over 275 stores in 37 states throughout the United States. Named after the Companie Generale A?ropostale, the pioneer French airmail company, the merchandise continues to embody the spirit and adventure of its name. The company also operates a web site at

Myers, a senior catcher from Carbondale, Kan., is the fourth Notre Dame female to win the award. She was chosen for the Scholar-Athlete of the Year award from a pool of 15 candidates which may encompass athletes from any of the 12 BIG EAST women’s sports.

Myers, an environmental science major in the Notre Dame honors program, earned National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA)/Louisville Slugger All-America Third Team honors as a junior in 2001 and was a member of the U.S. National Team last year. Prior to the 2002 season, she was named to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team. Myers was named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team as a junior in 2001 and the first team in 2000. Last season she led the Irish in batting (.380), RBI (41) and home runs (7). Myers ranks among the top five on the ND career lists for triples, home runs and RBI.

As a Dean’s List student, Myers earned Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team honors as a junior and third team accolades as a sophomore. She will graduate as a four-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star and plans to pursue a master’s degree in forensic science. Myers does extra research in the organic chemistry department and volunteers on a bimonthly basis at an elderly assistance home.

The conference also announced the ’01-02 BIG EAST/A?ropostale Female Scholar-Athlete Award winners, who will each receive $2,000 toward graduate studies.

California girls:

The 2002 Notre Dame roster is loaded with talent from the Golden State, as seven Irish players call California home. The 2002 freshman class brings three players from the West Coast (Liz Hartmann – Novato, Steffany Stenglein – Irvine, Carrie Wisen – Fullerton), while the returning Irish from California are Chantal DeAlcuaz (Modesto), Andrea Loman (Riverside), Alexis Madrid (Temecula) and Jessica Sharron (Agoura Hills).

How to get information on the 2002 Notre Dame softball team:

In addition to weekly releases and game recaps on, media members may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting Alan Wasielewski at:

Notre Dame home softball games will be available via live statistics on

Ciolli, Loman and Myers invited to USA Softball World Championship selection camp:

Senior Jarrah Myers, a 2002 All-American and member of the U.S. National Team during the summer of ’02, freshman Megan Ciolli and junior Andrea Loman have been invited to the participate in a team camp from May 30 – June 3, in Chula Vista, Calif.

The 66 players on the list that includes Ciolli, Loman and Myers will compete for spots on the teams that will represent the U.S. in international competition this summer.

Two teams will be selected following the camp in May/June. One will represent the USA at the U.S. Cup in Honolulu, Hawaii, (July 4-7), the Canada Cup in Surrey, B.C., Canada (July 16-21) and the ISF Women’s World Championship in Saskatoon, Canada (July 25-August 4).

The second team will be called the USA Softball Elite Team and it will help prepare the World Championship team for international events by competing in scrimmages and exhibition games prior to these events. The Elite Team also will compete in the Canada Cup.