April 3, 2002
Notre Dame vs. Illinois-Chicago, Thursday, April 4, 5:30 p.m.
Notre Dame at St. John’s, Saturday, April 6, 12 noon
Notre Dame at Seton Hall, Sunday, April 7, 11 a.m.
Weather continues to be problem in the Midwest, Irish head east this weekend for BIG EAST action:
After the University of Notre Dame softball team’s (11-12) non-conference game against Illinois-Chicago on Thursday, the Irish hit the road once again for two BIG EAST Conference doubleheaders against St. John’s and Seton Hall.
Notre Dame has attempted to have its home opener three times thus far in 2002, only to have each opportunity postponed due to inclement weather. Should the Irish get to play the UIC game on Thursday, it will be the first home game for the road-weary team this season.
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.
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 98-10 (.907) against conference foes during six regular seasons. Notre Dame posted its 100th BIG EAST Conference victory on March 30, with a 9-2 victory at Pittsburgh. The Irish are 2-0 in conference play this season.
Notre Dame in BIG EAST Conference regular-season competition:
Irish offense is red-hot entering this weekend’s competition:
Notre Dame has lost eight games over the last two weeks due to inclement weather, but when the Irish have been able to take the field the offense has been spectacular. Over the last three games, the team is hitting .404 with 36 hits, four doubles, six home runs and 28 RBI. Going back to the New Mexico loss on March 16, Notre Dame has posted double-digit team hits in each game (12 vs. New Mexico, 12 in game one at Pittsburgh, 13 in game two at Pittsburgh, 11 at Loyola Chicago).
Among the individual standouts during the last three wins, Lisa Mattison is hitting .750 with a home run and an RBI, while Jarrah Myers went .700 over the three-game stretch with two doubles, two home runs and eight RBI.
Notre Dame vs. Illinois Chicago series history and team analysis:
One of the oldest series in Notre Dame softball history will be renewed on Thursday, as the Irish host the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames at Ivy Field. The two teams have met 21 times, with the Irish holding a 14-7 advantage in the series. Two of the meeting occurred when both teams were members of the MCC Conference.
The first meeting between Notre Dame and UIC was in 1989, a 2-0, nine-inning victory for the Irish. The Flames hosted Notre Dame last season, with the visitors earning a 8-0 win. UIC has consistently been one of the top college softball teams in the Midwest, posting nine-straight 40-win seasons and four-straight trips to the NCAA regionals.
The Flames are 19-13 this season, boasting a 5-3 victory over #9 Nebraska and a 2-1 loss to #3 Stanford. Jennifer Tiffany sets the table for the UIC offense, batting .432 this season with 48 hits and 30 runs scored. Edel Leyden cleans off the bases when she comes to bat, hitting .379 with 11 home runs and a team-high 36 RBI. In the circle, Alison Aguilar has seen the most time (102.2 IP), with a 9-6 record, 78 strikeouts and a 1.91 ERA.
Notre Dame is 4-0 versus UIC at Ivy Field.
Notre Dame vs. St. John’s series history and analysis:
Notre Dame and St. John’s will be meeting for the 13th and 14th time on Saturday, April 6, with the Irish boasting a 12-0 record in the series. The Irish swept the season series last year with 8-0 and 1-0 victories at Ivy Field.
The Red Storm is 10-16-1 in 2002. After posting a seven-game win streak from 3-15 through 3-21, St. John’s has gone 0-3-1 – including two BIG EAST losses to Seton Hall.
Jillian Sandoval is the top offensive threat on the Red Storm roster, batting .333 this season with 10 RBI. Meghan Allman has seen a very large percentage of the pitching time in 2002, logging 167.1 of 178.2 possible innings. Allman is 10-14 with a 2.26 ERA and 130 strikeouts.
Notre Dame vs. Seton Hall series history and analysis:
Notre Dame and Seton Hall will be meeting for the 19th and 20th time on Sunday, April 7, and the Irish hold a 17-1 advantage in the series. The Pirate’s win came in the last meeting between the two teams, a 2-1 victory in the 2001 BIG EAST Championship.
Seton Hall enters this weekend’s conference competition with a 4-0 record in league play with doubleheader sweeps of UConn and St. John’s.
The Pirates are 14-7 overall this season and will face Monmouth (April 3) and Pittsburgh (April 6) before their matchup with the Irish on Sunday.
McKenzie Richards is on top of the Pirate offensive rankings, hitting .406 this season with five stolen bases. Laura Taylor controls the power bat on the team, logging eight home runs and 18 RBI this season.
Two pitchers split most of the innings for Seton Hall. Megan Meyer is 6-3 with a 2.04 ERA and Christina Shanko is 6-2 with a 3.08 ERA.
Jarrah Myers nabs first BIG EAST weekly award for the Irish in 2002, sixth award of her career: Senior catcher and co-captain Jarrah Myers was named the BIG EAST Player of the Week by the conference office on Monday, April 1, for her performance in Notre Dame’s doubleheader sweep of Pittsburgh on March 30.
Myers led the Irish to a 2-0 start in conference play with a five for six performance, two home runs, five RBI and a stolen base.
Irish among the top teams in the NCAA east region:
The NCAA Division I Women’s Softball Committee released its Division I women’s softball biweekly regional poll on March 28. The first ranking is alphabetical only, while the next poll (April 11) will include the teams’ rankings from 1-10.
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 caliber season:
Irish third basemen Andrea Loman has developed into Notre Dame’s top offensive and defensive player this season. Loman is tied for the team lead in hitting so far in 2002 (.328) and has cracked three home runs, including a titanic blast to put the Irish ahead 2-0 over Long Beach State.
Loman’s 13 career home runs put her fifth 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 88 defensive chances this season, Loman has made just two errors.
New career home run leader?:
As the Irish were away on their spring break trip to Nevada and California, senior catcher Jarrah Myers smacked her 14th career home run against Oregon in in Notre Dame’s 9-3 victory.
Her 28 round trippers place Myers second on the career list at Notre Dame, just behind Melanie Alkire’s 30 home runs from 1998-2001.
Can the Irish challenge the home run record?
A burst of home runs in the doubleheader against Pittsburgh 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 17 as of April 3.
With 32 games remaining this season, the Irish could challenge the school record for team home runs (36 hit in 2000). Seven 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.
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 three walks this season give her 54 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 49. Katie Marten (1994-97) holds that record with 58.
Getting better each start:
Freshman righthander Steffany Stenglein is 8-8 this season with a 2.50 ERA and the rookie hurler is getting better and better with each start.
Over the course of Notre Dame’s eight games during spring break, Stenglein was 3-2 with a 2.17 ERA and struck out 39 batters in 38.2 innings pitched. The Irish opponents hit just .183 against Stenglein during that stretch.
2002 schedule could develop into the strongest in school history:
The Irish enter this weekend’s action with an 11-12 record, but eight of those losses have come to teams ranked higher than Notre Dame in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25.
As of March 20, the Irish schedule reflects 12 ranked opponents (eight already played, plus future double headers against #4 Nebraska and #16 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).
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:
Notre Dame home softball games will be available via live statistics on www.und.com.
Keep up with the Irish via the sports hotline:
The Notre Dame sports information hotline has modified its menu offerings for the 2002 winter and spring sports seasons.
Here’s how the hotline now is aligned (as of Dec. 28, 2001):
* Dial (219) 631-3000
* Select any of the following subgroups:
(1) Upcoming schedule and recent results of ALL varsity sports currently in action (select cells 3-9 for the most updated results for specific sports).
(2) Upcoming football schedules for the 2002-05 seasons.
(3) Baseball information.
(4) Softball information.
(5) Men’s lacrosse information (press 1) and women’s lacrosse information (press 2).
(6) Men’s and women’s outdoor track and field information
(7) Women’s rowing information.
(8) Tennis information (then press 1 for men’s tennis and 2 for women’s tennis).
(9) Information for men’s and women’s fencing (press 1), men’s golf (press 2) and women’s golf (press 3).