ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) announced on Monday its 2018 softball awards and all-conference teams with a pair of Southern Vermont College student-athletes being honored.
Senior catcher Nicole Matthews (Pittstown, N.Y.) was voted to the All-NECC Second Team while sophomore second baseman Brooke Gates (Pittsfield, Mass.) was selected to represent SVC on the All-Sportsmanship Team.
Matthews led Southern Vermont with a .449 batting average, and she was tied for fourth in the NECC in average against league opponents with a .500 mark. She tallied 11 runs scored and nine runs batted in while raking three home runs and four doubles. In eight of her 30 games played, the senior Mountaineer registered a multi-hit performance. Monday's honor is Matthews' second all-NECC accolade of her career after she was selected to the league's All-Third Team in 2016.
"Nicole was not only the heart of our lineup this season, but she caught almost every game for us," said SVC second-year head coach Paige Gage. "I am so glad she has been recognized this season for all her hard work. Making an all-conference team as a senior is a great way to end your college career and is a great honor."
Gates had a solid season at second and brought consistency to the right side of Southern Vermont's infield. She improved her batting average from her freshman season by 51 points while notching 11 runs scored, five RBIs, and five stolen bases. Gage had also decorated Gates as the team's Most Improved Player at the Athletics Awards Ceremony the previous Monday.
"Brooke brought life into our infield," Gage said. "Whenever we started to get down, she was the first one I'd hear out in the field trying to pick everyone back up. Her positive energy was exactly what we needed in such a young infield, and I am so thrilled she was able to be recognized on the All-Sportsmanship Team."
All-Conference teams and major award winners are voted on by league coaches after a nomination period and before the start of the postseason tournament.
2018 NECC Softball Major Awards & All-Conference Teams
NECC Player of the Year – Noelle Sass, Newbury (Jr., C, Randolph, Mass.)
NECC Pitcher of the Year – Felicia Gaillardetz, Bay Path (So., P, Londonderry, N.H.)
NECC Rookie of the Year – Jordan Day, Lesley (Fr., P., Seminole, Fla.)
NECC Coach of the Year – Steve Smith, Bay Path
First Team All-NECC
P - Felicia Gaillardetz, Bay Path (So., Londonderry, N.H.)
P - Samantha Lee, Becker (Sr., Prospect, Conn.)
C - Noelle Sass, Newbury (Jr., Randolph, Mass.)
1B - Jordan Raab, Lesley (Jr., Rochester, N.H.)
2B - Samantha DelConte, Mitchell (Sr., Enfield, Conn.)
3B - Elizabeth Olszewski, Elms (Sr., Canterbury, Conn.)
SS - Lauren Vallee, Bay Path (Sr., Bristol, Conn.)
OF - Rebecca Carkhuff, Becker (Sr., Amherst, Mass.)
OF - Courtney Goggin, Lesley (Sr., Cheshire, Conn.)
OF - Arianna Gooden, Newbury (So., Bakersfield, Calif.)
DP - Kaitlin Thibodeau-Corey, Mitchell (Fr., Peabody, Mass.)
Second Team All-NECC
P - Jordan Day, Lesley (Fr., Seminole, Fla.)
P - Mallory Stefan, Newbury (So., Thornton, Colo.)
C - Nicole Matthews, Southern Vermont (Sr., Pittstown, N.Y.)
1B - Samantha Belenchia, Becker (Jr., Ansonia, Conn.)
2B - Tina Babcock, Newbury (Jr., Ayer, Mass.)
3B - Katrina Peck, Bay Path (Jr., Newington, Conn.)
SS - Sarah Ellis, Becker (Fr., Berkley, Mass.)
SS - Madison Messier, Elms (Jr., Warren, Mass.)
OF - Melanie Rios-Nevarez, Dean (So., Alta Vega, Puerto Rico)
OF - Catharine Wrang, Elms (Jr., Middletown, Conn.)
OF - Theresa Pereira, Lesley (Sr., Hopedale, Mass.)
Third Team All-NECC
P - Lisa Lusardi, Elms (Jr., Enfield, Conn.)
P - Taylor Duchesneau, Mitchell (Jr., Killingly, Conn.)
C - Lilly West, Bay Path (So., Goshen, Mass.)
1B - Courtney Holden, Dean (So., Bridgeport, Conn.)
2B - Lauren Niemann, Becker (So., Bay Shore, N.Y.)
3B - Riley Pickett, Lesley (Fr., Rocky Hill, Conn.)
OF - Jai Ruiz, Bay Path (Jr., Hadley, Mass.)
OF - Stephanie Adams, Mitchell (Fr., White Plains, Md.)
OF - Samantha Libby, Newbury (Sr., New Gloucester, Maine)
NECC All-Sportsmanship Team
Marissa Sarna-McCarthy, Bay Path (Jr., 1B, Westhampton, Mass.)
Shannon Lundy, Becker (So., INF, Barnstable, Mass.)
Melanie Rios-Nevarez, Dean (So., INF/C, Alta Vega, Puerto Rico)
Katelyn Sylvia, Elms (So, 1B, Southwick, Mass.)
Tallin Goldberg, Lesley (Fr., P, Merrimack, N.H.)
Megan Elphick, Mitchell (Sr., 3B, Waterford, Conn.)
Samantha Libby, Newbury (Sr., OF, New Gloucester, Maine)
Brooke Gates, Southern Vermont (So., 2B, Pittsfield, Mass.)
Taylor McDonald, Wheelock (Fr., P/INF, Weare, N.H.)
– #LetsGoSVC –