Athenas To Finish Strong In SCIAC Title Chase
In a season that has already seen several incredible moments and victories, players and coaches believe The Best Is Yet To Come.
The Athenas are in first place in the SCIAC with a 28-8 record overall, 15-5 in SCIAC play.
The 18 strong squad is battle tested and resilient. They have completed 20 of 24 SCIAC games and a challenging 16 game non-conference schedule that included double-headers against #1 ranked Linfield and another five twin bills against top 20 teams.
The offensive assault is led by several hitters starting with 2010 All American Harmony Palmer (SO, Oceanside) who is batting .383 (.311 SCIAC). Defensive specialist, shortstop Emily Lopez (JR, Fresno) is also making a major offensive contribution hitting .354 (.400 SCIAC). Megan Morris (JR, Ridgewood, NJ) leads the team in SCIAC batting stats at .444.
Michelle Harvey (SR, San Diego) and Gizelle Pera (SR, Los Angeles) continue to pound out runs and terrorize opponents on the basepaths. Harvey and Pera are currently number one and two in SCIAC stolen base standings with 25-25 and 19-20 snatched bags respectively. Both are driving to top the single season record of 33 set by future Hall of Famer Kirstin Wilson in 2003.
Katerina Yale (SR, Yorba Linda), batting .415 in SCIAC play has stepped her game up at the perfect time, brilliantly calling the game from behind the dish and making a solid contribution at the plate herself. Olivia Jacobs (FR, Shorewood) rounds out the starters and continues to make significant contributions during her inaugural campaign as an Athena.
Pitching for the Athenas down the stretch are a trio of savvy juniors. They have led the charge all season and many indicators point to their growing effectiveness, increasing confidence and emerging readiness for the biggest stages and tensest moments. Collectively, they stand atop the conference in team ERA of 2.45.
Rebecca Gularte (JR, Sunnyvale) currently boasts a 10-3, 7-2 SCIAC record built on 2.25/2.05 ERA respectively. Her teammates and coaches alike believe she epitomizes the overall feeling that "the best is yet to come." After some early season physical set-backs, the junior hurler has emerged sharp, crisp, fresh and nearing the top of her game.
Fellow junior Emma Friedenberg (Danville) partners with Gularte in the circle putting up 12-1/5-1 SCIAC records and equally impressive 2.34/2.77 ERA.
Rounding out the pitching staff is versatile, talented Amanda Banducci (JR, San Mateo). The designated player pitches, plays first and hits the ball a mile. She has demonstrated herself to be clutch often entering the game in relief when the team needs a stopper. She has also been a gamer with the bat crushing out big hits to spark the team including a walk-off 2 RBI double against #1 Linfield.
The reserve squad pushes the starting nine daily and stands ready to step in at a moment's notice to meet offensive or defensive needs. Michaela Ecklund (FR, Monetsano, WA), Emily Nordhoff (JR, Seattle, WA), Morgan Beltz (FR, Portland, OR), Chelsea Baker (SR, Tucson, AZ), Kendall Kritizik (SO, Gilbert, AZ), Rebecca Ciszewski (FR, Orangevale) and Kara Mantani (SR, Redwood City) bring talent, experience and energy to help the team overcome whatever adversity lies ahead.
The 18th member of the Athenas is unsung hero, Rebecca King (JR, Bellevue, WA). King tore her ACL during the fall and is rehabbing from surgery in October. Her commitment to the team demonstrated in her full engagement at every practice has spoken volumes about her belief in and love for CMS Softball. Though she does not suit up on game day, King is absolutely a critical member of the team and part of the success achieved thus far.
The Athenas have one final home stand on Saturday, April 23 at 12 noon against Whittier College. It will be Senior Day and a "half-time" ceremony will take place to honor and appreciate the five four-year seniors who will all be playing in their final regular season game.
Come out and support Athena Softball, the most exciting game in town.