May 13, 2004
The University of Notre Dame softball team matched its team record for first-team all-BIG EAST selections while landing three major awards at the BIG EAST Conference softball awards banquet on Thursday morning in Syracuse. Junior Megan Ciolli was named the conference player of the year, classmate Steffany Stenglein was voted the pitcher of the year and head coach Deanna Gumpf and her staff took home the conference coaching staff of the year trophy.
Ciolli, a unanimous selection to the all-BIG EAST first team, led the conference in batting average – hitting .491 in 20 league games. That average is the seventh-best in BIG EAST softball history and she led the league in hits (75) and on base percentage (.446). Ciolli is now a three-time all-BIG EAST first team selection and is hitting .410 overall this season – the second-best mark in school history.
Stenglein’s award is the first major conference trophy of her career and she becomes just the second Irish pitcher to earn the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year honor (Jennifer Sharron won the award four straight years from 1998-2001). The award also marks the resurgence in Stenglein’s career, after working through a tough sophomore season after recovering from off-season surgery before the 2003 season.
Stenglein was close to unhittable in conference play, leading the league with a 0.49 ERA. She posted a 9-1 conference record, allowing just four earned runs and ranks among the national pitching leaders with 21 overall victories this season. Her selection to the all-BIG EAST first team is the second of her career and first since the 2002 season.
With seven first-team all-conference selections and two major awardwinners, perhaps it was no surprise that the Irish coaching staff was honored as well. Head coach Deanna Gumpf, along with assistant coaches Charmelle Green, Kris Ganeff and Bill Roggeman were named the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year. It is the second time Gumpf’s staff has been so honored, as she earned the league’s award in her first full season in 2002. Gumpf led the Irish to 18 league victories, marking just the third time in BIG EAST history that a team has won 18 or more games (all by Notre Dame teams). The Irish coaching staff also helped its pitchers post a 0.89 ERA in league play, the eighth-lowest mark in BIG EAST history.
Ciolli and Stenglein were joined on the all-BIG EAST first team by sophomore catcher Mallorie Lenn (the third unanimous selection for Notre Dame, including Ciolli and Stenglein), junior third base Liz Hartmann, freshman second base Stephanie Brown, senior outfielder Nicole deFau and sophomore pitcher Heather Booth.
The award selections are particularly special for Hartmann, Lenn, deFau, and Brown who earn all-BIG EAST first-team honors for the first time in their careers.
Lenn, who was a second-team honoree as a rookie in ’03, hit .411 in conference play with seven doubles and 15 RBI. Hartmann enjoyed her best BIG EAST season yet by posting a .370 batting average with two home runs and eight RBI – while also playing stellar defense at third base.
DeFau ends her career with an all-conference honors after not receiving mention on any all-conference team previous to the 2004 season. The only senior on the ’04 squad, deFau posted a spectacular BIG EAST campaign with a .424 batting average, five doubles, two triples, two home runs and 10 RBI. She also led the league in stolen bases with seven (on nine attempts).
Booth’s first team honor is the second of her career and she joins with Stenglein to become the second Notre Dame pitching duo to earn all-BIG EAST first team honors in the same season (the 2001 team, Kristin Schmidt and Jennifer Sharron). Booth posted a 9-1 record in league play with a 1.33 ERA, tossing eight complete games and five shutouts.
The final awardwinner was freshman Stephanie Brown, who ranked among the league leaders in RBI (15), while hitting .323 with seven doubles and two home runs. Brown becomes the seventh Notre Dame freshman to earn first-team all-BIG EAST honors.
Notre Dame, the number one seed in the BIG EAST Championship, will take on fourth-seeded Boston College at 7 p.m. (EST) to begin the tournament this evening. Seton Hall (#2) and Villanova (#3) kick off the action at 5 p.m. Go to www.bigeast.org for both live audio and live stat coverage.
2004 BIG EAST Softball Awards
Player of the Year: Megan Ciolli, Notre Dame
Pitcher of the Year: Steffany Stenglein, Notre Dame
Rookie of the Year: Christina Tucker, St. John’s
Coaching Staff of the Year: Notre Dame
All-BIG EAST First Team
P – Steffany Stenglein, Notre Dame*
P – Heather Booth, Notre Dame
C – Mallorie Lenn, Notre Dame*
IF – Ricci Lugo, Villanova
IF – Liz Hartmann, Notre Dame
IF – Laura Taylor, Seton Hall
IF – Stephanie Brown, Notre Dame
OF – Megan Ciolli, Notre Dame*
OF – Nicole deFau, Notre Dame
OF – McKenzie Richards, Seton Hall
U – Christina Tucker, St. John’s
DP – Rachel Bartholomew, Providence
All-BIG EAST Second Team
P – Courtney Fitzgerald, St. John’s
P – Megan Meyer, Seton Hall
C – Megan Evans, Virginia Tech
IF – Alexis Switenko, Syracuse
IF – Katie Pierce, Seton Hall
IF – Allaina Sainz, St. John’s
IF – Mandy Schettini, Connecticut
OF – Tanya Rose, Syracuse
OF – Robin Flier, Villanova
OF – Stephanie DiBiase, Connecticut
U – Cori Van Dusen, Providence
DP – Caitlin Murphy, Virginia Tech
All-BIG EAST Third Team
Maggie Arbogast, Connecticut
Nikki Childress, Rutgers
Sheri Donley, Villanova
Tekae Malandris, Boston College
Cassie Morales, Syracuse
Courtney Mosch, Syracuse
Sarah Prosise, Virignia Tech
Jillian Sandoval, St. John’s
Mary Carroll Smith, Seton Hall
Britney Thompson, Boston College
Shannon Williams, Villanova
* – indicates unanimous selection
Note: By vote of the league coaches, the BIG EAST all-rookie team was replaced by the all-BIG EAST third team this season.