April 22, 2002

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Notre Dame vs. #4 Nebraska, Tuesday, April 23, 5 p.m.

Irish hit the road for the first time in 12 games for key matchup with #4 Nebraska: The University of Notre Dame softball team (27-13, 11-1) travels to Lincoln, Neb., to take on #4 Nebraska (39-9, 8-4) at Bowlin Stadium on Tuesday, April 23 (5 p.m.). It will be the ninth top-25 team the Irish have faced this season (Notre Dame is 1-7 against top-25 teams this season, see “Irish preseason schedule among the toughest…” and “2002 schedule could develop…” notes that follow) and the first since Notre Dame’s 3-2 loss to #10 Fresno State on March 16.

Head coach Deanna Gumpf leads Irish into Lincoln to face her alma mater: Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf returns to her alma mater this weekend. A 1991 Nebraska graduate, Gumpf was a second-team all-BIG Eight Conference selection in 1991 and was an honorable mention all-league pick in ’89 and ’90. Gumpf played first base and pitched for the Cornhuskers.

Gumpf was an assistant coach for four years at Notre Dame before taking over for Liz Miller, who retired after the 2001 season.

Notre Dame vs. Nebraska series history and team analysis: Notre Dame and Nebraska will be meeting for the fifth time on Tuesday, with the Cornhuskers holding a 4-0 advantage in the series. The teams last met in the 1999 NCAA Region VI Tournament (Ann Arbor, Mich.) when Nebraska eliminated the Irish with a 4-3, eight-inning victory. Tuesday’s meeting is the first time Notre Dame and Nebraska will meet in Lincoln (all four previous meetings were at neutral sites).

The Cornhuskers are 39-9 overall this season and 8-4 in Big 12 action. They are coming off a doubleheader split against #24 Texas A&M on Sunday, April 21. Nebraska is hitting .279 as a team and boasts a 1.52 ERA from its pitching staff.

The top hitter for the team this year has been Kim Ogee (.378 average) with nine home runs and 25 RBI. Nicole Trimboli has posted the most RBI this season with 36 (.354 average).

In the circle, Peaches James and Leigh Ann Walker have seen an equal amount of innings. James is 18-5 with a 1.21 ERA, while Walker is 20-4 with a 1.89 ERA.

Nebraska will dedicate its new Bowlin Stadium softball facility before the game on Tuesday.

Irish enjoy memorable doubleheader sweep of Virginia Tech on Saturday: In what was possibly its best all-around effort of the season, the Notre Dame softball team swept a BIG EAST Conference doubleheader against Virginia Tech on Saturday 8-0 (six innings) and 10-0 (five innings).

Freshman righthander Steffany Stenglein pitched her first career perfect game in the first contest, retiring all 15 batters she faced (six strikeouts) and not allowing a ball hit out of the infield. Virginia Tech had entered the game with a .304 team batting average.

Jarrah Myers entered the doubleheader needing two home runs to become the new Irish career leader. She accomplished that goal quickly, hitting home runs in her first two at bats of the first game and adding a third in her first at bat of the second game. Myers ended up five for six in the two games with six runs scored and six RBI.

Notre Dame’s two other power hitters, Andria Bledsoe and Andrea Loman, were not left out of the festivities. Bledsoe hit her career-best sixth home run of the season in the first inning, following up Myers three-run blast. Loman added her seventh of the season leading off the fifth inning of game one.

Offensive explosion vs. Indiana State has a place in the record books: Notre Dame’s 14-1 and 11-2 victories in last Wednesday’s (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.

Stenglein receives recognition for her pitching efforts with first BIG EAST weekly pitching award of her young career: Freshman pitcher Steffany Stenglein was named co-BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week on Monday, April 15, after helping the Irish to a 6-1 record. Stenglein went 3-1 last week with a 0.89 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 25 innings.

The rookie righthander has steadily improved throughout the entire season, even while battling a stubborn groin pull. Since the Irish returned from spring break with an 8-12 record, Stenglein has lost just one game while lowering her ERA to 1.96. She has given up more than four hits just twice (vs. UIC on April 4) while going 8-1 in her last nine decisions.

Mattison earns first BIG EAST weekly award of her career: Junior Lisa Mattison was named the BIG EAST Conference player of the week on Monday, April 8, after helping the University of Notre Dame softball team to a 6-0 record and assume first place in the league with doubleheader sweep at St. John’s and Seton Hall over the weekend.

In six games during the week of April 1-7, Mattison finished 10 for 18 (.556) with two doubles, two runs and a team-high nine RBI. She was also perfect in the field, recording 40 putouts and two assists in 42 chances. It was the first conference weekly award Mattison has earned, though she was a first-team all-BIG EAST selection in 2001 as a designated player.

Irish among the top teams in the NCAA east region: The NCAA Division I Women’s Softball Committee updated its Division I women’s softball biweekly regional poll on April 11. The ranking is alphabetical only, while the next poll (April 25) will include the teams’ rankings from 1-10.

Only teams with a record over .500 can be included in the regional rankings. EAST REGION Canisius Notre Dame Seton Hall Syracuse Villanova Virginia Tech

Irish appear prominently on BIG EAST Conference statistical rankings: Several Notre Dame players appear on the BIG EAST Conference statistical rankings, released on April 15, for all league games.

Junior Lisa Mattison, who was named BIG EAST Player of the Week on April 8, leads all conference hitters with a .444 average (12 for 27). Teammate Andria Bledsoe is right behind Mattison with a .438 average (14 for 32).

Notre Dame’s pitching staff is well represented, with both Steffany Stenglein (0.89) and Carrie Wisen (0.38) among the top six in ERA.

In the different statistical categories, Bledsoe leads the league in hits (14) and runs scored (11), Megan Ciolli is first in triples (2) and stolen bases (5) and Lisa Mattison is first in on-base percentage (.559).

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.

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, has been invited to the participate in a team camp from May 30 – June 3, in Chula Vista, Calif.

The 20 players on the list that includes Myers will combine with the 22 players selected in January to compete for spots on the teams that will represent the U.S. in international competition this summer. An additional 10-18 players will be added to the camp during the first week of May.

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.

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.

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.

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 second on the team with a .364 batting average this season and has cracked seven home runs, including a legendary shot to put the Irish ahead 2-0 over Long Beach State.

Loman’s 17 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 144 defensive chances this season, Loman has made just five 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 five errors on the season).

Loman returned to the lineup against Purdue on April 11th, showing no ill effects from 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 surpasses 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.

Can the Irish challenge the home run record? A burst of home runs in the doubleheader against Pittsburgh and another five homers added against Virginia Tech on April 20 indicates that the 2002 edition of the Notre Dame softball team could set a new school record for team home runs in a season. The team total stands at 30 as of April 22.

With at least 13 games remaining this season, the Irish could challenge the school record for team home runs (36 hit in 2000). A team-record nine different players have hit home runs for the team this season, including first career round trippers from Megan Ciolli, Annie Dell’Aria, Nicole deFau and Lisa Mattison.

Power up and down the Irish lineup: The 2002 University of Notre Dame softball team has already set a new team record. With Carrie Wisen’s home run against Seton Hall on April 7, nine 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 and Liz Hartmann have not launched a home run.

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 nine walks this season give her 60 for her career, which is third on the all-time list and trails Sara Hayes (1992-95) with 66. Kriech also might be able to reach the career record for steals, as she currently has 52. Katie Marten (1994-97) holds that record with 58.

2002 schedule could develop into the strongest in school history: The Irish enter Tuesday’s action with an 27-13 record and eight of those losses have come to teams ranked higher than Notre Dame in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25.

As of April 15, the Irish schedule reflects 11 ranked opponents (eight already played, plus a game against #4 Nebraska and a doubleheader vs. #17 DePaul). Notre Dame has been close to knocking off its top-ranked foes as well. The Irish 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. Post-season play at the end of the 2002 campaign could push the Irish schedule this season into the record books.

Notre Dame softball standout Jarrah Myers named the 2001-02 BIG EAST/A?ropostale Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year: She 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 www.aeropostale.com.

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.

Notre Dame and Villanova picked as co-favorites in the BIG EAST: Notre Dame and Villanova ended up tied in the 2002 BIG EAST Softball Preseason Poll, as both teams earned 94 points.

Notre Dame is coming off a 20-0 regular season record in conference competition last season, while Villanova wrapped up league play with a 15-5 record. The Irish received six first-place votes, while the Wildcats earned four. Seton Hall (third), Virginia Tech (fourth) and Connecticut (fifth) rounded out the top five in the preseason poll.

Notre Dame will continue conference competition this weekend at St. John’s (Saturday) and Seton Hall (Sunday).

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 www.und.com, media members may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting Alan Wasielewski at: Wasielewski.3@nd.edu Notre Dame home softball games will be available via live statistics on www.und.com.