Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Media Contact: Dave Costello, 815-921-4516
The Rock Valley College softball team will start its third season under Head Coach Darin Monroe and will open up its season in Clermont, Florida, on March 8 vs Monroe College (NY). The Golden Eagles will play 12 games in six days while in Florida, and will be tested early against some of the top competition in the country. Headline games for RVC will be against Heartland (#7 in NJCAA DII), Mercyhurst North East (#11 in NJCAA DII), Mott (#14 in NJCAA DII), and three games against Cuyahoga (2013 DII national qualifier).
2013 was a breakout year for Monroe's squad as it finished with an overall record of 32-12 and qualified for its second NJCAA national tournament appearance in school history, finishing sixth at the tournament in Rochester, MN. RVC also won the N4C championship and had the N4C MVP in Vivi Marquez. Following the 2013 season, Monroe was recognized as Region IV and N4C Coach of the Year.
Returning for the 2014 is All-Conference pitcher Amanda Blankenship (Belvidere North), who appeared in 26 games last season and had a record of 15-4 with a 2.96 ERA. She will be joined in the circle by freshmen Callina Rockey (Dakota) and Kourtney Larson (East Dubuque).
With the NJCAA National Catcher of the Year Vivi Marquez taking an injury redshirt this season because of off-season shoulder surgery, RVC will rely heavily on returning starters Tara Wogomon (Winnebago) and Michaela Strick (Rockford East). Wogomon appeared in 35 games for the Golden Eagles last season and batted .341 on 31 hits in 91 at bats. Strick appeared in 31 games and batted .446 in 56 at bats. Transferring back to RVC to play her sophomore season is former Guilford standout Danielle Walker who played for NCAA Division I Western Illinois University last season. She was a four-time NIC-10 All-Conference performer. Another returning sophomore is Kasey Sanchez (Rockford East).
The Golden Eagles freshman group is loaded with talent including NIC-10 standouts Haley Love (Harlem), Tatianna Reyes (Hononegah) and Hannah Anderson (Belvidere). Joining them are Ashely Brant (Scales Mound), Katie Meyer (Pleasant Valley, IA), Bre Baer (Johnsburg), Thianna Wegner (Cambridge, WI), Amanda Dominguez (Marshall, WI), Kaitlyn Appleman (Amboy) and Kaytee Keefe (Antioch).
"2013 was a breakout year for our program," says Monroe. "Winning the N4C, Region IV tournament, and placing sixth in the country is a big step for our program. We established an attitude and a culture of what it means to play for Rock Valley College. We will look to build upon the success we had last year and continue to bring this program toward national contention this season."
RVC is predicted to finish first in Region IV and is ranked #4 in the pre-season NJCAA Division III poll. The Golden Eagles first home game will be March 21 versus Highland Community College at 3:00 p.m.