BOSTON, Mass. -- Simmons Softball will look to build upon their success in 2012 where the Sharks finished as one of the top teams in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference with a conference record of 19-7. The Sharks continued their competitive run in the ECAC Tournament where they were seeded 7th and posted victories over both the #2 and #5 seeds to compete in the semifinals.
The Sharks, who were ranked 3rd in the 2013 GNAC pre-season poll earlier this week, will need all 14 athletes to reach their goal of making the GNAC tournament and securing a bid to the NCAAs. "We need to focus on every inning of every conference game to put us in a good position for the tournament," said Head Coach Anne Hennigan.
Leading the Sharks this season are captains Ari King (Westford, Mass.), Cailin Pagel (Dorchester, Mass.) and Emily Cunningham (Cotuit, Mass.). Losing only two seniors to graduation, the Sharks will return eight starters this spring, including the 2012 GNAC Player of the Year Emily Cunningham and the 2012 GNAC Rookie of the Year Lauren Backhaus (Windsor, Conn.). Cunningham made all 44 starts at first base without an error and led the Sharks with 46 RBIs and 9 home runs, while Backhaus posted 15 wins, 197 strikeouts and a 1.78 ERA during her rookie campaign.
Also returning for Simmons is sophomore shortstop Hannah Cunningham (Cotuit, Mass.) who hit .333 with 10 doubles, three triples and three home runs, outfielder Christina Mulcahy (Cambridge, Mass.) who posted four home runs and 28 RBIs and sophomore pitcher Amanda Cordeiro (Fall River, Mass.), who recorded a 10-7 record with 56 strikeouts.
The Sharks will welcome three new faces to the roster this year. Heather White (Westfield, Mass.) and Amy Maher (Milton, Mass.) will add depth to the Sharks outfield, while Mikaela Caracciolo (North Attleboro, Mass.) will bring quickness and skill to the infield.
"The team has put in a tremendous amount of work during the off-season and it is quite evident. Everyone is stronger and faster. This group has a great work ethic and as long as that remains steadfast throughout the season, we will be in a great position. This group is unselfish and each athlete is always willing to do whatever it takes to make themselves and each other better. If we continue to work hard and work as a team, the potential is there for a historic season," said Coach Hennigan.
The Sharks open their 2013 campaign on March 10th versus Salve Regina in Clermont, Fla.