Feb. 20, 2004
In just her first season at the helm, Head Coach Pee Jay Brun orchestrated a thrilling turnaround that propelled the Saints to their first MAAC Tournament since the Championships became a qualifier.
And with all eight starters and every pitcher returning, it's no wonder she is excited about the future of Siena softball.
"Our expectations are limitless, and we hope that last year we just started to scratch the surface," Brun said. "I was really pleased with the way we finished the season, and feel the kids are starting to get a sense of where we want this program to go."
The carryover from last year's late-season success should provide a seamless transition to the coming year, where the Saints look to take the next step and compete for their initial conference championship.
Hope rests first and foremost in the right arm of sophomore Tara Campbell who exploded onto the scene as a rookie. Campbell earned Second Team All-MAAC honors after securing a 6-3 mark in MAAC play and a miniscule 1.38 conference ERA.
In her 122+ innings of work as a freshman, she struck out 98 batters while walking just 52 and limiting the opposition to a .247 batting average. She also collected 12 complete games in 18 starts.
"We will again look for Tara to match up with the opposition's top pitcher day in and day out," Brun said. "As a freshman, she put together one of the school's best single season pitching performances, and we are really looking forward to her next three years."
Campbell will be reacquainted with juniors Tisha Salamino and Adrian St. Cin in the circle. Salamino battled through injuries last season to post a 3.39 ERA and register 43 strikeouts in 76 innings of work.
St. Cin, who doubles as a mainstay in the middle of the Saints' everyday lineup, filled in to register a 5-4 record in 13 appearances.
The trio will be joined by freshman Janelle Iaquinto who makes her way to Siena after a decorated career at Arlington Catholic High School in Wilmington, Mass.
Junior captain Colleen Price returns to dawn the protective gear in 2004. Price is looked up to as a leader by the entire team, and her mastery of the Siena pitching staff has earned Brun's praise.
"Colleen is a great defensive catcher who calls a tremendous game," Brun said. "She is mature beyond her years and has a great knowledge and appreciation of the game."
Price will be looked to for increased offensive production this season after an up-and-down sophomore campaign at the plate.
The unexpected emergence of Sarah Rose at the hot corner was perhaps the biggest surprise of the 2003 season. The now-junior captain evolved into one of the top run producers in the league and locked down the left side of the infield with her reliable glove.
Rose garnered Second Team All-Conference honors after batting .319 and tying for the team-lead with 19 RBI. Brun will look to Rose for even more production this season.
"Sarah is what Siena softball is all about," Brun said. "Her commitment to her teammates and improving her game is second to none. After a breakthrough sophomore season, we are looking for even bigger things this year."
Rounding out the Saints tri-captains is senior shortstop Veronica Arredondo. Arredondo will command the Siena infield with her keen defensive skills and the respect of her teammates. She is a selfless player who will sacrifice her body and at bats for the success of the team.
St. Cin will again see the majority of her action at first base when she is not in the circle. The powerful junior also grabbed Second Team All-Conference honors a year ago after leading the team with four home runs and tying with Rose for the top spot in RBI with 19. She will likely follow Rose in the everyday lineup, and shore up the right side of the infield with her consistent fielding. As a sophomore, she made just four errors in 204 chances at first base.
Senior Becky Brockman will likely land the opening day nod at second base after appearing in 26 games a year ago. Brockman adds more fire power to the Saints lineup and should have little trouble making the full-time transition to second base in her final season in the Green and Gold. Junior College transfer Megan Woltz, classmate Chani Grant, freshmen Kelly Boyle and sophomore Alyssa Scelfo figure to add depth to the middle of the Saints infield and each brings their own unique traits. Sophomore Alyson DeMarino is a capable replacement for either of the corner positions.
After enjoying perhaps the greatest offensive season in Siena history in her penultimate year with the Saints, Carrie Getz returns for her senior season with high expectations.
The local product finished seventh nationally with a .462 batting average, and reached base in over 50% of her plate appearances. Her performance catapulted her to the First Team All-MAAC and Second Team All-Northeast Region team. Among the many times her name adjusted the record books, perhaps most noteworthy were the 60 hits she collected, displacing her own school record from the year prior.
Cemented in the top spot in Brun's ledger, Getz will again be counted on to set the stage for early Siena rallies with her slapper-style southpaw swing. She is also a threat on the base paths as evidenced by her 16 steals in 18 attempts (10 in the final week of the regular-season) last year.
Getz is flanked by a pair of sophomores who gained valuable experience while contributing to the team's resurgence last season. Right Fielder Christa Fasano started 36 of 37 games, playing flawless defense while logging 24 hits in 108 at bats. Classmate Jamie Walker was solid in her 23 starts in right field and has worked hard in the off-season to improve her offensive game. She can cause fits for the opposition with her speed when she reaches base.
Junior Norah Haddad is another option for Brun in any of the outfield positions, and she will likely again see action in pinch running situations with the game on the line. Sophomore Carla Fedele impressed in limited action last season, and her work ethic could earn her more innings this spring. Marlo Daniels is Brun's first choice for speed off the bench, and with a year of experience under her belt, she could also see more innings. Freshman Jennifer Griner also comes to Loudonville with high expectations, and if her high school resume is any indication, she should make an impact from the start.
The Hawaiian Islands await the Saints in early March as the team makes a 7-day odyssey to Brun's home state. The trip is highlighted (competitively at least) by a March 2 twin bill with the mentor's alma mater, the University of Hawaii. Contests with Long Beach State, Charleston and Southern Illinois bracket a third contest with the hosting Warriors. The Tournament's final two days of competition will determine placement, as the Saints give new meaning to the term spring training.
The return to the main land begins with the optimistic season-opener on March 25 against Bucknell. The ensuing weekend, the Saints travel to New York City for a date with Stony Brook in Long Island and a double header at St. John's in Jamaica (Queens that is).
The renewal of the rivalry with cross-town foe UAlbany rounds out the month of March on the 30, and this year the Great Danes will play host to the two games. April brings Cornell to Loudonville on the 1st, preceding the start of conference play-a home series with Niagara.
The MAAC schedule brings its usual challenges, as the Saints look to continue their ascent of the standings. Defending regular-season champion Fairfield will be formidable as will Tournament champ Rider and qualifier Saint Peter's. But as Brun notes, "each conference game is critical and there are no easy wins."
The remainder of the non-league docket features: a home and home with Colgate and doubleheaders with St. Francis, N.Y., Vermont, Holy Cross, Sacred Heart, Binghamton and Dartmouth.
In short, the Saints should be well tested and well prepared for what they hope is a return trip to the Conference Championships (this year held in Poughkeepise) and a crack at their first MAAC crown.