Softball finishes season at 26-24 overall with 16 wins in final 20 games
Minutewomen face No. 6 George Washington in first round action
Minutewomen head coach Kristi Stefanoni earned her 50th career victory in Sunday’s win.
UMass alumna had been the Interim Head Coach since August
Kristi Stefanoni Named UMass Softball Interim Head Coach; Danielle Henderson Rejoins Program As Associate Head Coach
SB VS. SAINT LOUIS Photos by Thom Kendall '93
SB vs. GMU (STRIKE OUT CANCER) Photos by Thom Kendall '93
SB vs. SJU Photos by Thom Kendall '93
SB vs. DAYTON Photos by Thom Kendall '93
SB vs. QUINNIPIAC Photos by Thom Kendall '93
After a standout playing career for her mentor Elaine Sortino, Stefanoni spent seven years on the coaching staff, moving from Director of Operations to Assistant Coach and to Associate Head Coach in 2013. She worked primarily with the outfielders and left-handed slap hitters, among other duties, including budgetary and recruiting responsibilities.
In her eight seasons on the UMass staff, The Minutewomen have a cumulative record of 343-158-4 (.704), winning the Atlantic 10 Championship and advancing to the NCAA Tournament five times each. In Stefanoni's four years as a player, UMass went 151-64-1 (.715) with three A-10 Championships, four NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Super Regional berth in 2006. She has been a part of the program for the last 12 years and 494 victories.
In 2014, UMass qualified for the Atlantic 10 Championship - after missing the event a year earlier - and finished among the top four in the league with a 9-6-1 record. The Minutewomen were much improved in the field, lowering their team ERA by 0.51 and raising the fielding pct. by .025. The team also went 9-1-1 at home. UMass showed glimpses of the future with four freshman starting much of the season and first- or second-year players accounting for 199 of 390 starting spots - 51 pct.
Individually, freshman Jena Cozza was named NFCA First Team All-Region, A-10 Rookie of the Year, Second Team All-Conference and to the A-10 All-Rookie Team after hitting .356 - the highest for a UMass freshman in eight years. Senior Lindsey Webster completed her career with Second Team All-Conference honors and freshman pitcher Tara Klee earned a spot on the All-Rookie squad. Additionally, six student-athletes were named to the A-10 Spring Commissioner's Honor Roll.
Working with the UMass outfielders from 2007-13, Stefanoni coached 13 Atlantic 10 All-Conference outfielders and back-to-back Conference Players of the Year in Carly Normandin (2009) and Katie Bettencourt (2010). Normandin was a 2009 NFCA All-American and, along with Lauren Proctor, each earned three All-Conference nods.
Stefanoni's work with slap hitters has also yielded two of the best in program history - Candice Molinari and Cyndil Matthew.
Molinari was a first-team all-conference centerfielder twice while compiling .388 and .401 batting averages with 46 combined stolen bases in her junior and senior seasons in 2006 and 2007, Stefanoni's first two as assistant coach, coming after a pair of sub-.300 seasons.
Matthew burst on the scene as a sophomore in 2011, batting a team-best .324 with 22 runs scored and earning all-conference honors before grabbing Easton Second Team All-America plaudits in 2012 when she hit .409 with a .476 on-base percentage and a single-season school-record 36 steals. The speedster duplicated that national accomplishment as a senior where she was in fourth in the A-10 with a .380 avg. and first in steals with 31 (ninth in the nation). She finished her career fourth in UMass history with a .362 batting avg., ninth with 124 runs scored, tied for fourth with a .443 on-base pct. and third with 92 stolen bases.
A 2006 graduate of UMass with a degree in Psychology, Stefanoni was a co-captain for the Minutewomen her senior year. She started almost every game at second base her last three seasons while being one of the most disciplined players at the plate. Stefanoni showed great range in the field and compiled a career fielding percentage of .950 in nearly 500 chances.
The native of Columbus, N.J. scored 75 runs in her career while compiling a .350 on-base percentage. She dropped down 24 sacrifice bunts, stole 26 bases and successfully advanced runners almost 50 percent of the time in her career. Stefanoni had 14 career doubles, two triples, one home run and 27 RBI as well as 11 multi-hit and five multi-RBI games in her career.
Stefanoni was a four-year letterwinner in softball at Northern Burlington (N.J.) County Regional High School, batting .447 as a senior en route to leading the school to its first-ever state championship. She finished her senior campaign with a .544 on-base percentage with five doubles, three triples, and 28 runs scored. She took home All-Conference honors for the second time that season in addition to All-Area and All-South Jersey honors. She was inducted into the Northern Burlington Athletic Hall of Fame in March of 2013.
Stefanoni played second base for the Jersey Devils ASA travel team under Hall of Fame Head Coach Jimmy Holland and competed in the 2005 Canada Cup with the Absolute Blast from the state of Washington.
Stefanoni resides in Hadley.