May 9, 2002
The University of Notre Dame softball team (38-15) was honored for their outstanding BIG EAST Conference regular season success at the league’s annual award banquet at the Wyndham Roanoke Airport Hotel on Thursday evening.
Senior catcher Jarrah Myers became the fourth Irish player to earn the BIG EAST Player of the Year award during the evening’s festivities. She led the conference in batting average (.462), home runs (a regular-season conference record eight), runs scored (23), RBI (23), on-base percentage (.559) and slugging percentage (.962). Myers also was the only unanimous pick for the all-BIG EAST first team. It is the second major individual award Myers has earned in conference play, as the Carbondale, Kan., native was the conference Rookie of the Year in 1999.
First-year Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf and her staff claimed the second consecutive coaching staff-of-the-year award for the University. In 2001, Gumpf was an assistant when the Irish nabbed the first-ever conference staff of the year award (previous to 2001, the league named a ‘coach of the year’).
Gumpf guided the Irish to an 18-2 mark in conference play this season after losing four key starters to graduation. With assistant coached Charmelle Green, Kris McCleary and Bill Roggeman, Gumpf has led the Irish to a 38-15 overall record in 2002, the number-one ranking in the NCAA East Region and the 2002 BIG EAST regular-season title. In the latest NCAA statistics, Notre Dame ranked 10th in batting average and 12th in fielding percentage.
The Irish dominated the all-BIG EAST first-team list, landing seven players on the squad. Myers joined teammates Andria Bledsoe, Andrea Loman, Lisa Mattison, Jenny Kriech, Megan Ciolli and Steffany Stenglein in earning all-BIG EAST first-team honors. Ciolli, Stenglein and Carrie Wisen also were named to the all-rookie team.
The Notre Dame award winners and their teammates return to action in the 2002 BIG EAST Championship on Friday, May 10, after suffering a disappointing 8-3 loss to fourth-seeded Virginia Tech on Thursday afternoon. The for the Irish mission is clear, they will need to win four games in a row to earn the tournament championship and assure themselves a spot in the NCAA Championship. Notre Dame meets third-seeded Syracuse at 3 p.m. on Friday.