Breeden MAAC Rookie of the Year

Freshman infielder Allysen Breeden was named the 2012 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year.
Friday, May 11, 2012

While the Rider University softball team wishes they were still playing this weekend, the team did receive a bit of positive news on Thursday evening when it was announced that freshman infielder Allysen Breeden (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown) was named the 2012 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year.

Senior pitcher Rachael Matreale (Williamstown), a four-time MAAC Pitcher of the Week honoree, was named to the All-MAAC First Team with Breeden, a three-time MAAC Rookie of the Week honoree named Second Team All-MAAC, along with sophomore outfielder Kehli Washington (Lulea, Sweden/New Rochelle).

"I'm thrilled for the three of them," said head coach Tricia Carroll.  "I think they are all deserving of the accolades that they earned."

Breeden started all 54 games for the 20-33-1 Broncs (7-9 MAAC) with a .277 batting average while leading Rider in RBIs (27), doubles (8), home runs (3) and walks (14).

"Ally was big all year," Carroll said.  "When we recruit, you really don't know what they will do and how they will adjust to the transition from high school and she was pretty seamless in that all season.  She worked very hard and had a really nice year."

Breeden scored 14 runs and her 46 hits were tied for second best on the team.

Breeden had a fielding percentage of .962, making only five errors all season.

Matreale (Williamstown), a Second Team All-MAAC honoree as a junior, won 17 games for the Broncs this season, compiling a 2.04 earned run average as Rider had an 11 win improvement over 2011.

Matreale compiled 215 strikeouts in 226 innings, making 35 appearances with 30 complete games.

"Rachael had a great year to cap off a great career," Carroll said.  "It was a little unfortunate that we couldn't get her some more runs and be playing this weekend."

Matreale's win total leads the MAAC and is 89th in the nation, her earned run average is 97th nationally (third in the MAAC) and her strikeouts per inning are 110th in the most recent NCAA statistics.

A veteran of 121 games, Matreale graduates with 596 strikeouts, second best all-time at Rider.

Washington, who is the leadoff hitter for the Broncs, led Rider with a .297 batting average and had the second highest on-base average (.319).

"For Kehli, I'm glad that the MAAC coaches recognized how dangerous of a player she can be," Carroll said.  "Other teams fear her a bit because of her speed and she is a big out when they can get it.  The fact that she got the honor speaks volumes for that respect."

Washington batted .310 in 16 conference games with eight runs scored and four stolen bases.

It was also announced that seven members of the Rider softball team earned MAAC All-Academic honors.

To be eligible for the MAAC All-Academic Team, a student athlete must complete two semesters at their institution and hold a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 on a 4.0 scale.

Matreale and fellow seniors Kelsey Krisch and Lucy Higgins, junior Heather Muscara and sophomores Lisa Blanton, Ally Coryell and Krysti Maronski were recognized.

"They are student-athletes," Carroll said about placing seven on the MAAC All-Academic team.  "All of our players work very hard in the classroom and on the field and that hard work is rewarded, not only with this recognition but ultimately after they graduate from Rider University."

Muscara, a Secondary Education/History major from North Bellmore, N.Y., compiled a 3.52 grade point average, Matreale graduates with a Marketing degree and a 3.51 g.p.a. and Maronski, a Behavioral Neuroscience major from Woodbury Heights has a 3.46 grade point average.

Coryell is a Secondary Education/English major from Ewing with a 3.40 g.p.a., Krisch, from Parker, Colo., graduates with a Psychology degree and a 3.37 grade point average, Blanton, from Hilliard, Fla. has a 3.35 g.p.a., as a Secondary Education/English major and Higgins, from Westminster, Mass., graduates with a Communication degree and a 3.25 grade point average.

Matreale, Krisch and Muscara are all two-time MAAC All-Academic honorees.

Rider's last First Team All-MAAC honoree was Amanda Centeno in 2010.  In 2009, Ally Melia and Brittany Eckett earned Second Team All-MAAC honors.

In 2008, Tiffany Day-Neutill earned Second Team All-MAAC honors after earning First Team All-MAAC honors in 2007 and in 2006, Jen Cullen was named First Team All-MAAC, while Heather Beintema and Nichole Mears were named Second Team All-MAAC.

Earning Second Team All-MAAC honors in 2005 were Jamie Farley, Cullen and Day-Neutill.

In 2004, Beintema was named the MAAC Pitcher of the Year and First Team All-MAAC along with Amanda Tu and Courtney Weed.  On the All-MAAC Second Team were Brandey Weed and Maddy Boulden.

When Rider took home its last MAAC championship in 2003, Carroll was named MAAC Coach of the Year, Beintema was named First Team All-MAAC and MAAC Rookie of the Year with Courtney and Brandey Weed named First Team All-MAAC and Kristin Kenavan, Boulden and Tu named Second Team All-MAAC.

"Getting MAAC Rookie of the Year is a hard thing to do," Carroll added.  "I think we've only had three in 15 seasons in the MAAC.  When we recruit, we look at potential and some make that adjustment to the collegiate game and some never make that adjustment.  Ally's composure really impressed me this year; she did an awful amount of damage with two strikes.  She was disciplined at the plate and just played big for us in clutch situations."

Rider returns 14 letterwinners for the 2013 season.

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Photo courtesy of Brian Solomon