|Title:||Head Softball Coach and Athletics Director|
Starting with her first season in 2000, Jen Benway laid the foundation for what she has developed into a regional softball power as head softball coach at Lesley University. Her teams have won over 25 games four years in a row from 2008-2012, five straight conference championships and a New England Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year award in 2011. Lesley has secured the automatic qualifying bid for the NCAA Tournament in the past three consecutive seasons.
A 1998 graduate of Bentley College in Waltham, MA, Benway was a four-year starter at shortstop and lead-off batter, collecting numerous offensive records. In 1999, Benway made the switch from player to coach.
Since her inaugural season in 2000, the Lynx softball team has significantly increased their wins and each spring challenges the conference championship. This past season the softball team won the inaugural NECC, their second consecutive conference title after winning the North Atlantic Conference Championship in 2008. The NAC Championship earned Benway and the Lynx an automatic qualifier into the NCAA Tournament while 2010's NECC Championship earned Lesley a trip to ECAC Tournament. Benway owes her team's latest accomplishments to successful recruiting classes and hard work and dedication from the team both in and out of the season.
Benway's dedication to bringing in committed and hard-working recruits has resulted in numerous academic and athletic accolades. Benway has developed two conference Players of the Year, four Pitchers of the Year, two Rookies of the Year, and 28 All-Conference players. Academically, Benway has had ten players named to the conference All-Academic Teams, an honor given to student-athletes who in their season of competition maintain a 3.40 GPA or higher.
In 2006, Coach Benway was selected as the Head Softball Coach for the Robur 58' Softball Series in Holland. The team, comprised of college players around the U.S, took home the bronze medal in the series. In 2004, Coach Benway served as the Head Softball Coach for the Tuscany Series in Italy. The team played Holland and other Italian teams and went undefeated 10-0, winning both tournaments in Arezzo and San Casciano. Coach Benway was also selected as an assistant coach for Coast to Coast Athletics. The team traveled to Australia to compete against Olympic Development teams in Brisbane and Sydney in the winter of 2002.
In May of 2003, Coach Benway earned her Masters Degree at Lesley University in Interdisciplinary studies and created a mentoring program for rookie collegiate softball coaches as part of her thesis. Benway is a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) and completed the NFCA's Coaches College, becoming a 4 star Master Coach in July of 2007.
Jannelle Iaquinto joined Jen Benway's staff in the fall of 2012 after spending one season at Merrimack College, where she served as the Warriors pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. She brings to Lesley over five years of experience coaching and recruiting at the collegiate level, including working with many of the area’s top Division-II and Division-III pitchers.
Iaquinto was a four-year scholar-athlete at Division-I Siena College in Loudonville, New York. During her collegiate career, she fulfilled many roles on the Saints pitching staff as a starter, reliever and mentor. A freshman standout, Iaquinto made 12 starts in the circle for the Saints, posting an ERA of 3.22 and holding opponents to a .299 batting average. Sidelined by injury her junior year, Iaquinto immediately began assisting with the development of Siena’s pitching and catching staff.
Prior to her collegiate career, Iaquinto was a four-year varsity starter & two-year captain for Arlington (MA) Catholic High School, earning all-star and team MVP recognitions all four years. She remains the program's all-time leader in innings-pitched and strikeouts (647) and was honored as a Boston Globe and Boston Herald All-Scholastic Athlete as a junior.
Professionally, Jannelle is the assistant director for annual giving/giving clubs at Lesley University. She is also a private instructor at At Bats Training Center in Boxborough, MA. She currently resides in Medford, MA.
Jessie Bryant joined the Lesley University softball program in January of 2014 and works primarily with the outfield while serving as the hitting coach. She also assists with recruiting for the Lynx. Bryant comes to Lesley after a stellar four-year playing career at Providence College in Providence, R.I.
In 2012-2013 she captained the Friars and had a batting average of .344 with an on-base percentage of .413 and a .576 slugging-percentage. In her senior season she was also named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team, The College Sports Madness BIG EAST All-Conference Second Team, and was named BIG EAST Softball Player of the Week (4/22/13), which was the first Providence player to do so since 2006.
Following her career, you can still find Bryant in the Providence annals as finished up her career ranking second in all-time walks, fifth in home runs, and fifth in runs batted in.
Prior to her time with the Friars, Bryant was a three sport athlete at Marlborough high school, earning a league all-star distinction in soccer, basketball, and softball. During the 2008 and 2009 softball seasons, she helped guide the Panthers to consecutive league titles for the first time in school history.
Currently Bryant serves as the Marketing Director/Manager at Sluggers Academy in Medfield, Mass.