ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The NECC announced its 2018 Softball All-Conference teams and major award winners on Monday afternoon. The awards were voted on by the conference's nine coaches following the conclusion of the regular season, with eight of the nine conference schools being represented on the all-conference teams.
Newbury College junior catcher Noelle Sass (Randolph, Mass.) was voted the 2018 NECC Player of the Year. Bay Path University sophomore Felicia Gaillardetz (Londonderry, N.H.) earned Pitcher of the Year honors. Lesley University's Jordan Day (Seminole, Fla.) was named Rookie of the Year, and Bay Path head coach Steve Smith was voted Coach of the Year by his peers.
Joining Pitcher of the Year Felicia Gaillardetz in the first team all-conference pitcher slot is Becker College senior Samantha Lee (Prospect, Conn.). Player of the Year Noelle Sass is a first-team selection in the catcher position, while her teammate Arianna Gooden (Bakersfield, Calif.) joins her on the first team as an outfielder. Becker senior Rebecca Carkhuff (Amherst, Mass.) and Lesley senior Courtney Goggin (Cheshire, Conn.) round out the outfield selections. Junior Jordan Raab (Rochester, N.H.) is the second first teamer from Lesley, as she fills the first base spot. The second base slot goes to Mitchell College senior Samantha DelConte (Enfield, Conn.), while Elms College senior Elizabeth Olszewski (Canterbury, Conn.) and Bay Path senior Lauren Vallee (Bristol, Conn.) fill out the infield selections at third base and shortstop, respectively. Mitchell freshman Kaitlin Thibodeau-Corey (Peabody, Mass) rounds out the first team at the designated player position.
The second team features Rookie of the Year Jordan Day in the pitcher position, joined by Newbury's Mallory Stefan (Thornton, Colo.) Southern Vermont College's Nicole Matthews (Pittstown, N.Y.) represents her school in the catcher slot. Becker lands two in infield positions, junior Samantha Belenchia (Ansonia, Conn.) at first base, and freshman Sarah Ellis (Berkley, Mass.) at shortstop. Madison Messier (Warren, Mass.) of Elms also nabbed a second team selection for shortstop. Bay Path third baseman Katrina Peck (Newington, Conn.) fills out the second team infield positions. In the outfield, Dean College makes its first appearance, with Melanie Rios-Navarez (Alta Vega, Puerto Rico) being honored. Elms' Catherine Wrang (Middletown, Conn.) and Lesley's Theresa Periera (Hopedale, Mass.) also landed second team outfield nods.
Elms pitcher Lisa Lusardi (Enfield, Conn.) is joined by Mitchell's Taylor Duchesneau (Killingly, Mass.) as the third team pitcher selections. Bay Path's Lilly West (Goshen, Mass.) fills the catcher position, while her teammate Jai Ruiz (Hadley, Mass.) fills one of the three outfield spots. The other two spots went to Stephanie Adams (White Plains, Md.) of Mitchell and Samantha Libby (New Gloucester, Maine) of Newbury. In the infield, Dean's Courtney Holden (Bridgeport, Conn.) lands the first base nod, Lauren Niemann (Bay Shore, N.Y.) of Becker is the second base selection, and Lesley's Riley Pickett (Rocky Hill, Conn.) rounds out the selections at third base.
NECC Player of the Year – Noelle Sass, Newbury (Jr., C, Randolph, Mass.)
In her junior campaign, Sass played in every conference game for the Nighthawks, leading her squad to a 10-6 regular season conference record, and the fourth seed in the conference playoffs. Overall, the catcher batted .444, with ten home runs, and 41 RBI, both tops in the league. She also crossed the plate more than anyone else in the league, with 51 runs scored. Sass leads in the league in on-base percentage (.554) and slugging percentage (.855). Behind the plate, the catcher only allowed 32 stolen bases, and five passed balls. She was a one-time 2018 NECC Player of the Week selection (week ending 4/29/18).
NECC Pitcher of the Year – Felicia Gaillardetz, Bay Path (So., P, Londonderry, N.H.)
Sophomore Felicia Gaillardetz was a force in the circle for the Wildcats. Bay Path went 11-5 in conference play, landing the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament. Gaillardetz went on to lead the Wildcats to their first ever NECC Championship, for which she was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Overall, the sophomore had 16 wins for Bay Path, leading the league with a 2.39 ERA. She pitched 22 complete games, with five shutouts, both good for second in the league. She was also second in the league in strikeouts, with 142 in 152.1 innings pitched. Gaillardetz was a one-time 2018 Pitcher of the Week selection (week ending 3/25/18).
NECC Rookie of the Year – Jordan Day, Lesley (Fr., P., Seminole, Fla.)
Freshman Jordan Day was a dual threat for the Lynx, helping Lesley to the regular season conference crown, with a 14-2 conference record. The freshman won a league-best 19 games in the circle, which is also 13th in NCAA Division III. She made more appearances than any other pitcher in the league, with 32, and 169.2 innings pitched. Day led the league with 183 strikeouts, while only allowing opponents to bat .217 against her, also tops in the league. Offensively, Day batted .492, good for second in the league, while also tying for the league lead in RBI with 41. She earned NECC Player of the Week honors once (week ending 3/19/18), Pitcher of the Week three times (weeks ending 3/11/18, 3/18/18, 4/22/18) and Rookie of the Week three times (weeks ending 3/11/18, 3/18/18 and 4/22/18). Day is the only player in NECC history to land Player, Pitcher and Rookie of the Week in the same week (week ending 3/18/18).
Coach of the Year – Steve Smith, Bay Path
In his nineteenth season at the helm, Smith led the Wildcats to an 11-5 conference record, and the No. 3 seed in the NECC Softball Championship. He coached his team to the upset victory, and Bay Path's first-ever NECC Championship. His pitching staff led the conference in ERA (2.93) and strikeouts (202), while offensively the Wildcats were third in batting average (.319) and on-base percentage (.396). This is Smith's first NECC Coach of the Year award.
First Team All-NECC
P- Felicia Gaillardetz, Bay Path (So., Londonderry, N.H.)
P- Samantha Lee, Becker (Sr., Prospect, Conn.)
C- Noelle Sass, Newbury (Jr., Randolph, Mass.)
1B- Jordan Raab, Lesley (Jr., Rochester, N.H.)
2B- Samantha DelConte, Mitchell (Sr., Enfield, Conn.)
3B- Elizabeth Olszewski, Elms (Sr., Canterbury, Conn.)
SS- Lauren Vallee, Bay Path (Sr., Bristol, Conn.)
OF- Rebecca Carkhuff, Becker (Sr., Amherst, Mass.)
OF- Courtney Goggin, Lesley (Sr., Cheshire, Conn.)
OF- Arianna Gooden, Newbury (So., Bakersfield, Calif.)
DP- Kaitlin Thibodeau-Corey, Mitchell (Fr., Peabody, Mass.)
Second Team All-NECC
P- Jordan Day, Lesley (Fr., Seminole, Fla.)
P- Mallory Stefan, Newbury (So., Thornton, Colo.)
C- Nicole Matthews, Southern Vermont (Sr., Pittstown, N.Y.)
1B- Samantha Belenchia, Becker (Jr., Ansonia, Conn.)
2B- Tina Babcock, Newbury (Jr., Ayer, Mass.)
3B- Katrina Peck, Bay Path (Jr., Newington, Conn.)
SS- Sarah Ellis, Becker (Fr., Berkley, Mass.)
SS- Madison Messier, Elms (Jr., Warren, Mass.)
OF- Melanie Rios-Nevarez, Dean (So., Alta Vega, Puerto Rico)
OF-Catharine Wrang, Elms (Jr., Middletown, Conn.)
OF- Theresa Pereira, Lesley (Sr., Hopedale, Mass.)
Third Team All-NECC
P- Lisa Lusardi, Elms (Jr., Enfield, Conn.)
P- Taylor Duchesneau, Mitchell (Jr., Killingly, Conn.)
C- Lilly West, Bay Path (So., Goshen, Mass.)
1B- Courtney Holden, Dean (So., Bridgeport, Conn.)
2B- Lauren Niemann, Becker (So., Bay Shore, N.Y.)
3B- Riley Pickett, Lesley (Fr., Rocky Hill, Conn.)
OF-Jai Ruiz, Bay Path (Jr., Hadley, Mass.)
OF-Stephanie Adams, Mitchell (Fr., White Plains, Md.)
OF-Samantha Libby, Newbury (Sr., New Gloucester, Maine)
All-NECC Sportsmanship Team
Marissa Sarna-McCarthy, Bay Path (Jr., 1B, Westhampton, Mass.)
Shannon Lundy, Becker (So., INF, Barnstable, Mass.)
Melanie Rios-Nevarez, Dean (So., INF/C, Alta Vega, Puerto Rico)
Katelyn Sylvia, Elms (So, 1B, Southwick, Mass.)
Tallin Goldberg, Lesley (Fr., P, Merrimack, N.H.)
Megan Elphick, Mitchell (Sr., 3B, Waterford, Conn.)
Samantha Libby, Newbury (Sr., OF, New Gloucester, Maine)
Brooke Gates, Southern Vermont (So., 2B, Pittsfield, Mass.)
Taylor McDonald, Wheelock (Fr., P/INF, Weare, N.H.)