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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Rising Up

The past three seasons for Beacons softball produced a total of only one conference win. This has earned UMass Boston softball three straight last-place finishes in the Little East conference. In their history, Beacons softball has never recorded more than one conference win in a season. All this history means only one thing: there’s no place to go but up.

First year head coach Natalia Ardagna takes the helm this season, replacing Amy Zombeck, who leaves after a three-year stint with the Beacons. Ardagna comes to UMass Boston after working for the Simmons College softball program. Ardagna helped take the Sharks to the playoffs all three years and comes off a season as head coach in which the Sharks went 19-17, finishing with the most wins in the history of the Simmons College softball program.

The Lady Beacons lose Andrea Ciarletta, who led the team in plate appearances a year ago. Ciarletta spent time at short and third, notching a .423 average last season and leading the team in RBI’s with 18. However, much of the core from last season returns, including captain Jenn Widener. The speedy Widener led the Beacons in runs and stolen bases a season ago and looks to force the issue from the leadoff spot. Lauren O’Connor also returns with her bat and will likely fill a spot in the heart of the lineup.

But to make any kind of noise in the Little East this year, the Beacons will need a big boost from their starting rotation, which is led by senior Katherine Wall and second-year player Amanda Cianciulli. If the Beacons are going to have a good season, look for Cianciulli, who made 11 starts in 2007, going 3-7 with a 9.02 ERA, to have a breakout year.

The Beacons started the season off with a spring break trip to Tucson, Arizona, where they went a disappointing 1-7. But the bottom line is the Beacons’ conference schedule. They will need more than one win to exit the basement. Until UMass Boston can compete with other teams in the Little East, non-conference games will mean nothing.