Nov. 19, 2000
The University of Notre Dame softball team has announced three new additions to its program. Megan Ciolli (Terre Haute, Ind.), Annie Dell’Aria (Fairfax, Va.) and Carrie Wisen (Fullerton, Calif.) have signed letters of intent to attend the University of Notre Dame, beginning in the fall of 2001.
Irish head coach Liz Miller (323-149 in eight season at Notre Dame) is extremely excited about the class of 2005.
“We are expecting all three of them to come in and have an immediate impact on the team,” Miller says.
“We believe all three have the talent to contribute from their first day on campus.”
Indiana native Megan Ciolli is a three-sport standout (softball, basketball and soccer) at North Vigo High School in Terre Haute, Ind. A three-time Most Valuable Player on the softball team, Ciolli has been named all-conference and all-county all three years at North Vigo (the 2001 high school softball season has yet to be played). She also earned all-state honors in 2000 and was the state home run champion in 1999.
“She has a lot of speed and power,” Miller says.
“She has primarily played third base in her career, but she is enough of an athlete that she can make the switch to the outfield. That is what makes her such an asset. She has a lot of ability to move around and play a lot of positions.”
Ciolli smacked 37 consecutive hits in 2000 and posted a .596 batting average. She also boasts a .543 career batting average and 55 stolen bases.
“I am very excited about my decision to attend Notre Dame,” Ciolli says.
“It was the school I wanted to attend from the beginning. The atmosphere is great and the opportunities that Notre Dame provides are unparalleled. I love the coaches, the players and I am so excited about spending four years with them.”
Annie Dell’Aria hails from Fairfax, Va.., and is a two-sport athlete (softball and volleyball) at Bishop O’Connell High School. Dell’Aria helped the team to an undefeated record in 1998 and helped the team extend its string of consecutive conference championships to seven in 2000. The team also was nationally ranked in ’98 and ’99, peaking at seventh in 1998.
“The first word that comes to mind with Annie is ‘power hitter’,” Miller says.
“She is a strong girl. Her primary position is catcher, so she might switch to a different position next year because Jarrah Myers (Notre Dame’s current starting catcher) will be a senior. She will catch for us and she brings us a very strong arm and bat at the position.”
Dell’Aria was named the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2000 and was a first-team all-state selection as well. She posted a .522 batting average last season with 29 RBI and a team-best 36 hits. In addition, Dell’Aria made the finals of the 2000 Boulder Invitational Home Run Derby.
“It is a dream come true to sign with Notre Dame,” Dell’Aria says.
“I always knew it was a good school. I really wanted to attend a great school and play Division I softball. Notre Dame offered the best of both worlds. The atmosphere of the school was first-rate and all the players and coaches seemed to really be enjoying themselves.”
Miller and her coaching staff traveled to Fullerton, Calif., to sign the pitcher of the class, Carrie Wisen. A four-year letter winner at Sonora High School in La Habra, Calif., Wisen as an all-freeway league pick in 1999 and 2000 and led Sonora to the league championship both years as well.
“Carrie is very strong,” Miller says.
“Her best pitch is the change up and the drop curve. Because of her strength, she has the ability to come in, throw hard, and learn a lot of pitches.”
Wisen went 6-1 in 2000 and posted a 0.59 ERA for the season. She also won the Under-10 National Championship with her team, the Orange County Batbusters, in 1994.
“The feeling of actually finishing the signing process is great,” Wisen says.
“I played in a tournament last weekend and I was just so much more relaxed. Notre Dame is just a great place to be. I like the tradition of the campus and the fact that the team is like a close-knit family.”