Season Preview: D'Youville Softball

Season Preview: D'Youville Softball

Buffalo, NY - Coming off their second consecutive Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) playoff appearance and fifth in the last six years under head coach Ona Halladay, the D'Youville softball team is hungry for more with a veteran roster that has tons of experience.

D'Youville was voted by opposing coaches to finish fifth in the AMCC for the 2020 season in the AMCC Preseason Poll. In 2019, the Spartans finished with a 9-9 conference record and finished fifth in the AMCC, making the playoffs for the second consecutive season. 

Head coach Ona Halladay returns her entire staff from last season in long-time assistant coach and former Spartan softball player Shannon Evans, former two-sport D'Youville student-athlete Sarah Marino, former Division II softball player Megan Asham, and former Spartan and three-time AMCC Pitcher of the Year Kalie McHerny as graduate assistant. Four-year starter for the softball team and women's basketball team, Darian Evans, concluded her career with the women in 2019 and joins the coaching staff this season to add another familiar presence into the dugout for the women. The coaching staff has continued to work on the details with the team, helping them grow and continue their established level of success.

The women have an extremely talented team, with three AMCC all-conference players roaming the outfield. That group is led by senior Ashley Carney (Clarence, NY/Clarence) as the three-time all-conference player and two-time first team all-conference left fielder is one of the best hitters in the AMCC. Carney led team in batting average (.445), stolen bases (4), at-bats (119), runs (26), runs (53), doubles (11), and on base percentage (.518) while she was tied for first in homeruns (2), tied for second in RBIs (20), and second in triples (4). She will resume her role at the top of the Spartan's order as the table setter for the offense.

A pair of young and talented sophomores will take their places to fill out an extremely talented group. Jackie Langer (Wexford, PA/Pine Richland) returns to center field after missing 2019 due to injury and has regained her form that made her an AMCC Third Team All-Conference selection as a freshman in 2018. She led team in runs scored (29), walks (14), RBI (29), and stolen bases (16), was tied for first in triples (4) and was second in batting average (.438) and hits (42) in her debut season as a Spartan. In right, sophomore Mikaela Milleville (Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara-Wheatfield) takes her spot following a freshman season where she was named an AMCC Third Team All-Conference selection where she finished first in triples (7), was tied for second in stolen bases (3), third in batting average (.330), hits (30), was tied for fourth in doubles (4), and ranked fifth in RBIs (13).

A pair of seniors will manage the corners for the women with Rylie Russo (Lake View, NY/Frontier) at third and Megan Meyer (Cheektowaga, NY/Maryvale) returning at first base. Russo is an experienced leader for the women as she has played second, third, and shortstop in her career. Since her freshman season, Russo has been a steady piece at the top of the order. Her leadership continues to be key in the women;s success. Meyer has continued to improve at first over the past two seasons, reaching career highs in RBI (20), hits (36), doubles (3), and walks (12) last season. Her bat in the middle of the order will be a key piece of the offense.

In the middle of the infield, junior Rachel Colan (Grand Island, NY/Grand Island) and sophomore transfer Madisyn Pepke (Lancaster, NY/Lancaster) are both strong defenders at either position and will provide a great deal for the women on the field. Colan scored 12 runs last season and hit her first carer homerun.

In the circle, juniors Alexa Haberer (Derby, NY/Lake Shore) and Brittaney Goodrich (Eden, NY/Eden) are the top two returning pitchers from last season, but made major impacts with their bats as well.

Haberer led team in the circle in appearances (27), starts (22), wins (9), complete games (17), innings pitched (140.2), strikeouts (94), and ERA (3.83). At the plate, Haberer was extremely effective as she was first is RBIs (21), tied for second in doubles (5), tied for fourth in triples (2), and fifth in batting average (.310).

Goodrich appeared at the mound 18 times (13 starts), pitching 84 innings. She recorded 45 strikeouts and four wins while tying for first in homeruns (2), tying for second stolen bases (3) and doubles (5), was second in at-bats (111), and fourth in RBIs (19) at the plate. 

The two will be joined by sophomore transfer Laura Gregory (Buffalo, NY/Mount Mercy) as she looks to make an impact in her first season with the women. Sophomore Mary Andreano (Greece, NY/Greece Athena) saw valuable time as a freshman last season with goals to have a bigger presence this season.

Behind the plate, freshman Jamie Bower (Middleport, NY/Royalton-Hartland) has made an immediate impression and brings a strong arm and athleticism. Sophomore Julia Cimino (North Tonawanda, NY/Niagara-Wheatfield) provides depth and has a year of experience under her belt.

Senior Therese Losardo (Lancaster, NY/Lancaster) has a great deal of experience in the outfield and is a leader for the women. Carly Milleville (Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara-Wheatfield) missed her freshman season due to injury but provides another option in the outfield. Freshmen Maeve Finney (Buffalo, NY/Sacred Heart Academy) and Maya Blackwell (Rochester, NY/Gates-Chili) have plenty of talent and will be important players for the women in their goal to reach the AMCC playoffs yet again.

Sophomore Jordan Hartman (Lake View, NY/Frontier) suffered a preseason injury but had a strong freshman season at the plate. Hartman tallied 18 hits and 12 RBI last season and came up big in several spots for the women.

D'Youville will begin their season in Florida with 10 games in Clermont and Leesburg. They will then return home for their home opening doubleheader on Wednesday, March 18 against the Houghton Highlanders beginning at 3:00pm.

That following Saturday on March 21, the Spartans will open up their conference schedule at Pitt.-Greensburg. Their first home conference doubleheader will come on Wednesday, April 1 against Medaille.

Coach Halladay offered some insight on to what she expects out of her team this season and several key pieces of her team.

Q: What are the strengths of your team?

CH: We have a lot of talent spread throughout the lineup with a dynamic infield and all conference outfield. 

Q: What do you expect to learn from your trips to Florida?

CH: As always Florida gives us an opportunity to compete against quality teams and develop our team so that we are our best heading into conference.

Q: What makes this team different from other teams you have coached?

CH: This team has strong leadership in the senior class. They have become self-motivated and hold each other and themselves accountable. Every coaches dream.

Q: What will be the biggest factor in the success of your team this season?

CH: This team has the ability to do great things as long as they continue to work together and bring their grit to every game.