2012 Softball Outlook
Something old and many things new.
With the return of 11 letterwinners but projected to start four rookies, the Rider University softball team looks to a mix of veterans and newcomers as the Broncs battle back from an injury plagued campaign that saw the team miss the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference playoffs in 2011.
The Bronc pitching staff is led by senior Rachael Matreale (Williamstown), an 86-game veteran who earned Second Team All-MAAC honors as a junior after appearing in 29 games, making 26 starts while leading the team in wins, appearances and strikeouts.
Krisch, a lefthander, will also see time at first base and as a pinch runner. Krisch appeared in nine games as a junior, making six starts and was third on the team in appearances, strikeouts and innings pitched.
Maronski, a two-time MAAC Rookie of the Week honoree, appeared in 17 games, making 11 starts as a Rider rookie and was second on the team in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts.
The infield will be anchored by two veterans on the corners, with junior Alyssa Paul (Toms River/Toms River HS East) at third base and senior Lucy Higgins (Westminster, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) as the starter at first base.
Paul, a 62-game veteran, appeared in 38 games, making 37 starts as a sophomore and led the team in batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage and triples and was second on the team in total bases and third in stolen bases.
Higgins, a 100-game veteran who has a .983 career fielding percentage, played in 45 games, making 43 starts as a junior and was second on the team in doubles and walks and fifth in on base percentage while leading the team in RBIs during conference games.
The middle infield, by default, is one of the youngest in the nation with rookies Amanda Irving (Westminster, Md./Westminster) at second base and fellow freshman Gina McCool (Marlton/Cherokee) anchoring the shortstop position.
Pugh, a two-time MAAC Rookie of the Week in 2010, played 41 games, making 39 starts her sophomore season and led the team in RBI and was second on the team in doubles.
Sophomore Kehli Washington (Lulea, Sweden/New Rochelle), arguably the fastest player on the team, anchors the centerfield position after a rookie season that saw her start 45 games while leading the team in stolen bases and she was second on the team in hits, runs scored, on base percentage and third in batting average.
In rightfield, the Broncs hope it will be junior Heather Muscara (North Bellmore, N.Y./Mepham) who saw her sophomore season cut short after 13 games due to injury. Muscara, a former MAAC Rookie of the Week honoree, still led the team in slugging percentage despite her shortened season.
The youth movement will continue with the fourth projected rookie starter Lauren Davies (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seneca Valley) patrolling leftfield for the Broncs.
Other letterwinners expected to see time for the Broncs include sophomore Lisa Blanton (Hilliard, Fla./Hilliard), sophomore Ally Coryell (Ewing), senior Samantha Mayer (Neptune) along with newcomer Madison Rittley (Pennington/Hopewell Valley Central).
Blanton, who can play second base as well as center and rightfield, appeared in 40 games, making 37 starts as a Rider rookie and only had seven strikeouts in 95 plate appearances while ranking third on the team in assists with 57.
Coryell, who played in 17 games and made seven starts last season, will see time at first base and Mayer, a 67-game veteran can play all three outfield positions and is also expected to backup the first base position.
Rookie pitcher Krista Morrone (Pipersville, Pa./Palisades) and infielder Dani Todaro (Berkeley Heights/Governor Livingston) are expected to miss the season, Morrone with an illness and Todaro with an injury.
The 16-game MAAC schedule begins at Herb and Joan Young Field on March 31 when the Broncs host Manhattan.
Iona was tabbed to win the MAAC, followed by Marist, Fairfield and Canisius. Siena was picked to place fifth, followed by Niagara, Manhattan, Rider and Saint Peter's.
The Gaels won the 2011 MAAC championship as the number four seed with the Stags from Fairfield winning the 2011 regular season crown.
The conference playoffs are hosted by Marist College in 2012 and will take place May 10-12 in Poughkeepsie, New York at the Softball Park at Gartland Athletic Field.
Rider last qualified for the four-team MAAC playoffs in 2006. The Broncs missed the playoffs by one game in 2009 and 2010.
The Broncs play in three tournaments prior to the MAAC schedule, February 24-26 at UNC-Greensboro, March 2-4 at George Mason's Patriot Classic and at the Penn Spring Invitational March 24-25.
Rider is also scheduled for 10 contests in Kissimmee, Florida at the Rebel Spring Games.
The home opener is scheduled for March 6 against Drexel and other non-conference opponents in the 56-game schedule include Columbia, Saint Joseph's, Lehigh, Stony Brook, Delaware, Lafayette and Monmouth.
The Broncs are hoping that the combination of something old and many things new will bring Rider back to its days of playing in mid-May for a MAAC championship.