Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Irish To Compete At Tennessee Tournament This Weekend

March 1, 2000

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 2000 Notre Dame softball team recovered from an 0-3 start at the Morning News Invitational to finish with a 3-3 record in Fayetteville, Ark., Feb. 25-27. The Irish dropped a doubleheader against Missouri, split their two games with Arkansas and then swept the tournament finale versus Virginia. The win over Arkansas was the Lady Razorbacks only loss of the tournament as they went on to finish first with a 5-1 record.

All-Tourney Honors: Notre Dame sophomore catcher Jarrah Myers (Carbondale, Kan.) and junior pitcher Jennifer Sharron (Agoura Hills, Calif.) have been named to the 10-member Morning News Invitational All-Tournament softball team.

Myers hit .316 (6-for-19) in the team’s six tournament games, scoring three runs, driving in four runs and belting her first home run of the year in the team’s 6-1 win over Virginia.

Sharron, meanwhile, went 1-1 on the mound in three appearances picking up 12 strikeouts in nine innings in the team’s 10-inning loss to Missouri Friday and posting a two-hit shutout against Virginia Sunday. Sharron also was 5-for-14 (.357) at the plate with a RBI against Missouri and a double versus Arkansas.

Tournament champion Arkansas had four members on the team including most valuable player, pitcher Jennifer Bottoms. Missouri placed three players on the team, while fourth place Virginia had one (see page three for a complete list of all-tournament honorees.).

Tourney Notes: The first Notre Dame game with Missouri covered five hours and 15 minutes, going 10 innings and being delayed by rain in the top of the fourth inning for two hours. The two-hour rain delay was in addition to the one-hour rain delay before the start of the game … game-winning RBI went to Andria Bledsoe (Arkansas) and Alexis Madrid (Virginia) …. game winning runs went to Andrea Loman (Arkansas), Lizzy Lemire (Virginia) and Danielle Klayman (Virginia).

Plate Perfection: So far this season, four Irish players have logged perfect performances at the plate. Last weekend, sophomore Jenny Kriech (Indianapolis, Ind.) went 3-for-3 for the second time this season, with three hits and a run scored in the team’s 4-2 loss to Arkansas. Junior Lizzy Lemire (Irvine, Calif.) had three of the team’s five hits (3-for-3) in their 1-0 win against Virginia, scoring the winning run and tallying her first triple of the season.

In the Las Vegas tournament, Kriech went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and a RBI. Junior Melanie Alkire (Union City, Calif.) then accomplished the same feat versus Southern Utah, going 3-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI. Freshman Andria Bledsoe (Higley, Ariz.) posted a career high on Saturday against UC Santa Barbara by recording four singles in her four at-bats.

Moving On Up Again: The Notre Dame softball team once again garnered more votes in the USA Today/NFCA poll, receiving 26 (31st) in all. Last week, the Irish received 13 votes, while they began the season with only one in the preseason poll.

Action – Scouting the Field: Two of this weekend’s three teams will be first time opponents for the Irish. Notre Dame has never faced Kentucky or future BIG EAST foe Virginia Tech, while they are only 1-0 against Tennessee with the two teams facing for the first time last season at South Florida’s Gladstone’s Tournament. The Stateline University Classic is being hosted by the City of Bristol at the Multipurpose Sports Complex.

The Lady Volunteers: For the second year in the row, the Irish and Tennessee will meet in early tournament action. Notre Dame defeated the Lady Volunteers 5-0 in Tampa, Fla., in a game which lasted past midnight.

This season Tennessee, under head coach Jim Beitia, enters the tournament on a five-game winning streak and has a 8-5 overall record. So far, the Lady Volunteers have posted notable wins over South Florida (5-4) and Cal State Northridge (7-4), while three of their five losses have been to previously top-ranked UCLA.

Junior outfielder Holly Ellison leads the Orange attack with a .344 batting average, while catcher Adrianna Wilson has two home runs and 13 RBI. Five pitchers have seen action for Tennessee, which advanced to the 1999 NCAA regionals, including senior Jackie Beavers, who is 4-2 with a 2.45 earned run average. Despite the team’s pitching depth, however, the entire Lady Volunteer staff has posted only 29 strikeouts in 13 games (2.23/g), while the Irish in 11 games already have 82 strikeouts (7.46/g).

The Hokies: Future BIG EAST foe Virginia Tech will round out day one competition for the Irish. The Hokies, who will join the BIG EAST Conference in 2001, are 5-2 to start the season after finishing their 1999 campaign with a 54-16 mark.

Under head coach Scot Thomas, Virginia Tech is led by sophomore Clarisa Crowell, who is hitting .611 (11-for-18) with three home runs, seven RBI and two doubles. On the mound, pitcher Ashlee Dobbe is 3-1 with a 0.00 earned run average including 54 strikeouts in 31 innings. Dobbe’s only loss of the year came against Alabama (0-1) at the University of North Carolina.

The Wildcats: First time opponent Kentucky enters this weekend’s tournament with a 6-9 overall record. The Wildcats, under head coach Beth Kirchner, has notable wins over future Irish opponents Purdue (2-0) and Connecticut (1-0), while four of their nine losses have been against ranked teams.

Offensively, junior Leslie Kwiatkoski, a native of South Bend, Ind., is first on the team in batting average with a .372 mark including a home run, eight RBI and two triples. Beth Fogle is next on the team with a .356 average, including a team high 14 runs scored. On the mound, Kreary Camunas (2-6) and Jen Howland (3-2), a former summer ball teammate of Notre Dame’s Andria Bledsoe, have been the team’s starters.

Starting Out In First: The 2000 Notre Dame softball team has been chosen to finish first in the BIG EAST in a preseason poll of conference coaches released January 19. The Irish, with eight of the nine first-place votes, finished with 64 votes overall, 11 more than Boston College, which finished second in the voting with 53.

Notre Dame junior pitcher Jennifer Sharron was selected the BIG EAST preseason pitcher of the year, while junior shortstop Melanie Alkire was picked as the BIG EAST preseason player of the year. Sharron and Alkire were joined on the 12-member preseason all-BIG EAST Team by outfielders Lizzy Lemire and Jennifer Kriech, giving the Irish the most selections of any of the conference’s nine teams. Sharron also was the only unanimous selection.

2000 BIG EAST Preseason Awards/Poll

PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Melanie Alkire, Notre Dame
PRESEASON PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Jennifer Sharron, Notre Dame

2000 Softball Preseason Coaches Poll 2000 Preseason All-BIG EAST Team
1. Notre Dame (8) 64 P Mary Dietz, Boston College
2. Boston College (1) 53 P *Jennifer Sharron, ND
3. Connecticut 47 C Summer Jarratt, BC
4. Seton Hall 46 IF Melanie Alkire, ND
5. Villanova 37 IF Vicki Lamb, Seton Hall
6. Rutgers 31 IF Jackie Pasquerella, Villanova
7. Providence 18 IF Jessica Yanosy, Connecticut
8. Pittsburgh 17 OF Mia Brickhouse, Villanova
9. St. John’s 11 OF Lizzy Lemire, ND
OF Jennifer Kriech, ND
U Lauren Fischetti, Boston Coll.
DP Megan Biddle, Connecticut

*=unanmious selection

Going Yard: After hitting just four home runs as a team in 1998, Notre Dame erupted for a team record 29 in 1999, beating the previous school record of 17 set in 1994.

This season, the Irish return four of the six players who tallied home runs in 1999, led by junior Melanie Alkire who belted a school-record and career-best 10. So far in 2000, the team has already hit three – one by Alkire against Southern Utah, one by freshman Andrea Loman in the UC Santa Barbara game and one by sophomore Jarrah Myers versus Virginia.

Seniorless: For the second time in the program’s 12-year history, Notre Dame will be without a senior class. The Irish have five juniors, six sophomores and six freshmen on their 2000 roster. The only other time the team did not have any seniors was in 1990.

The Big Switch: Beginning in 2000, Notre Dame will make a jump from the Mideast to the Northeast region for NCAA regional ranking consideration. The bi-weekly rankings are used as part of the championship tournament selection process and will make the team’s BIG EAST games (all of which are against schools in the Northeast region) even more important. The district rankings will be released the weeks of March 27, April 10, April 24 and May 8.

Conrad Named Assistant Coach: Two-time first team All-American and former Michigan standout Traci Conrad has been named an assistant softball coach at Notre Dame. Conrad replaces Stephenie Henderson who took over the head coaching position at Loyola-Chicago.

Conrad, a native of Frankfort, Ill., will help coach the batters and infielders and assist Notre Dame head coach Liz Miller in all administrative aspects of the program.

Irish Sign Pitcher, Outfielder for Class of 2004: Notre Dame head softball coach Liz Miller announced the signings November 17, 1999, of two high school seniors to national letters of intent. Pitcher Kristin Schmidt (Houston, Texas) and outfielder Nicole deFau (Southington, Conn.) will make up Notre Dame’s class of 2004.

Schmidt, one of the top pitchers in the state of Texas for the past two years, was a first team All-American in 1999 and is a two-time all-state selection. A senior at North Shore Senior High School, Schmidt had a 19-1 record with 229 strikeouts, only two walks and a 0.05 earned-run average as a junior.

The team’s other signee, deFau, is a two time all-state honoree from Southington High School. The outfielder led Southington to the state championship her freshman and junior seasons, while the team was the state runners-up in 1998.

Head Coach Liz Miller: Notre Dame head coach Liz Miller begins her eighth season at Notre Dame (283-139) and her 25th season overall (824-281). Miller directed the Irish to three BIG EAST South Division titles from 1996-98, while the team went undefeated in capturing both the BIG EAST regular season and conference championships in 1999.

Before being hired at Notre Dame, Miller was the head softball coach at Lake Michigan College where she amassed a 541-142 record in 17 seasons.

Div. I Preseason Poll


Rank Team (1st Pl. Vts.) W-L Votes LR
1. Washington (27) 18-1 675 1
2. Arizona 20-1 636 3
3. UCLA 18-3 626 2
4. Arizona State 15-1 562 6
5. (tie) LSU 13-2 523 4
(tie) Oklahoma 19-1 523 7
7. California 19-1 512 8
8. Fresno State 8-4 495 5
9. Stanford 16-1 472 11
10. Oregon State 13-4-1 376 12
11. (tie) CSU Fullerton 16-2 354 16
(tie) Southern Miss. 14-7 354 10
13. Iowa 5-0 328 14
14. Michigan 6-4 316 9
15. Louisiana-Lafayette 7-1 294 13
16. Alabama 16-3 258 20
17. Illinois-Chicago 16-8 213 18
18. South Carolina 9-5 200 22
19. Hawaii 6-2 194 17
20. DePaul 3-3 156 15
21. Oklahoma State 12-4 130 T25
22. Long Beach State 7-5 110 19
23. Nebraska 5-6 64 21
24. Hofstra 3-4 46 RV
25. Oregon 8-7 42 T25

Others Receiving Votes: Florida State (35), Pacific (33), Massachusetts (28), Missouri (28), North Carolina (28), Notre Dame (26), Michigan State (25), Texas (21), Utah (14), Texas A&M (11), Maryland (10), UNLV (10), Florida Atlantic (5), Cal State Northridge (4), Florida (4). Seven other schools were listed on only one ballot and are not included among others receiving votes.

Irish vs. This Weekend’s Opponents

Tennessee: 1-0
1999: W, 5-0 (@ Gladstone’s Tourn.)
Virginia Tech: First meeting
Kentucky: First meeting

Final Morning News
Invitational Standings

Team Record
1. Arkansas 5-1
2. Missouri 3-3
3. Notre Dame 3-3
4. Virginia 1-5

All-Tournament Team
1. Jarrah Myers, Notre Dame
2. Jennifer Sharron, Notre Dame
3. Corrine Good, Virginia
4. Stephanie Falk, Missouri
5. Dara Throneburg, Missouri
6. Stacy Gemeinhardt, Missouri
7. Brett Erickson, Arkansas
8. Danica Howlett, Arkansas
9. Kim Eiben, Arkansas
MVP – Jennifer Bottoms – Arkansas

2000 Notre Dame Tentative Defensive Starting Lineup

Pitchers Jennifer Sharron, Jr. (LHP)
Michelle Moschel, So. (RHP)
Catcher Jarrah Myers, So.
First Base Andrea Loman, Fr.
Second Base Alexis Madrid, Fr.
Third Base Andria Bledsoe, Fr.
Shortstop Melanie Alkire, Jr.
Left field Lizzy Lemire, Jr.
Center field Danielle Klayman, Jr.
Right field Jenny Kriech, So.