(Ann Arbor, MI) The WHAC recently announced the post season awards for softball and three Cardinal members were named First Team All-Conference. The record breaking season for the Cardinals carries on as this is the most representatives that have been honored for their achievements since Coach Brierley took over the program. Cheyenne Brierley (SR/Milan, MI), Amy Trionfi (JR/Allen Park, MI), and Samantha Capuzzi (SO/Temecula, CA), led the way for the Cardinals with their First Team All-Conference selections.
Coach Brierley has orchestrated a win total of 31 wins so far this season which is the most during his time at CUAA and credits a solid team effort for the post season awards. "The coaching staff is honored and proud of all of our players on this 2016 Cardinal softball team. It is because of a team effort we had such a record setting year and are able to recognize some of our players as the best in the WHAC. It is because of every player and their role that we are able to have 7 of our players recognized by the WHAC and NAIA."
All-Conference Award Winners
First Team All-Conference and All-Defensive Team
Cheyenne Brierley – The senior pitcher was named to the 1ST Team All-Conference team after a steady and stellar season in the circle. The Cardinals ace led the team in wins (10), games started (17), complete games (8), shutouts (3), innings pitched (97), ERA (1.59), and opponents' batting average (.228). Several of these statistical categories ranked Brierley among the WHAC leaders as well which solidified her honors among the league coaches. Brierley ranked 2nd overall among WHAC pitchers in lowest ERA and opponents' batting average.
When Brierley was not in the circle for the Cardinals, she was leading them behind the plate defensively as a starting catcher. Last year, Brierley earned first team honors as a catcher. This year, as a catcher, Brierley earned a spot on the All-Defensive Team. Brierley recorded 141 putouts, 31 assists and only 6 errors to have a .966 fielding percentage.
Coach Brierley's thoughts on Cheyenne:
"Cheyenne did an amazing job in the circle this year. She kept opponents off balance and guessing with the location of her pitches. As one of the top WHAC pitchers she did this all while catching which are two of the most demanding positions on the field. She was able to do both effectively to not only receive First Team All-Conference but also All-Defense as a catcher. Cheyenne and the other seniors have had a stellar career as Concordia and will be deeply missed."
First Team All-Conference and All-Defensive Team
Samantha Capuzzi – After an impressive freshman campaign that garnered honorable mention honors, the California native earned the respect of WHAC coaches to be named to the first team. The Sophomore started out the season hot by earning WHAC Player of the Week when she batted .524 and slugged 1.095 with 2 home runs over a six game stretch. During this stretch she helped the team defeat (RV) Thomas College. Capuzzi has remained a consistent offensive threat for Coach Brierley's lineup this year. She was among the team and conference leaders in batting average (.370), runs (35), hits (54), doubles (14), home runs (6), RBI (35), slugging percentage (.616), and on base percentage (.413). In only her second season, Capuzzi ranks among the all-time in a greats in the softball program's history for an individual season. With two games guaranteed in the conference tournament, Capuzzi currently ranks in the top 10 for individual season records in the following statistical categories; runs scored (10th), runs batted in (9th), doubles (7th), home runs (3rd).
Capuzzi created many memorable highlight reels as the center fielder for the Cardinals this year. Her ability to cover ground in the outfield combined with a strong and accurate arm, led to 53 putouts and 8 assists. Some of these assists resulted in opposing runners being thrown at home in dramatic fashion to help the Cardinals preserve a lead or tie.
Coach Brierley's thoughts on Sam:
"Sam has the strongest arm of an outfielder I have ever seen. This year she has multiple putouts and assists from center field. One of the most impressive catches she had this year was her catch in center field for out number two then threw home for the third out that kept the score tied 0-0 versus Davenport. Sam is also one of the team leaders in batting average and will look to break season and career home run records in the next two years. Sam is extremely deserving of both her First Team All-Conference and All-Defensive Team honors"
First Team All-Conference
Amy Trionfi – Amy's impressive statistical results earn her another all-conference selection except this year as a member of the first team. Trionfi has produced consistently for Coach Brierley's offensive lineup throughout the entire season. The primary lead-off hitter for the Cardinals leads the team in several offensive categories which also ranks her among the WHAC's best. Those categories include; batting average (.387), at bats (155), runs (46), hits (60), doubles (13), triples (3), total bases (94), slugging percentage (.616), and on base percentage (.428). As a top recruit for Brierley's program three years ago, the Junior has been an impact player from day which has led to her climb up the Cardinal record boards. With two games guaranteed in the conference tournament, Trionfi currently sits among the top 10 single season records in the following categories; hits (5th), runs scored (2nd), doubles (8th), home runs (3rd),
Coach Brierley's thoughts on Amy:
"Amy is the lead-off hitter that all other teams fear. She can hit to all sides of the field with power as well as high on base percentage. She has a great defensive glove and has superb range at short stop. She is a true leader on and off the field and we look forward for more great things to come from Amy next year."
WHAC All-Academic Team
Concordia Athletics works hard to promote academics and takes pride in the accomplishments of student-athletes in the classroom. Jessica Barjaktarovich (SR/Richmond, MI), Hunter Churchill (SR/Dundee, MI), and Victoria Shaddock (SR/Romeo, MI) were all named the WHAC All-Academic Team for the second time in their careers. To be eligible, players must hold a 3.25 cumulative GPA and have earned the credits to have a junior status.
Coach Brierley puts a strong emphasis on the importance of academics as all three Cardinal members are two time honorees as well as NAIA Academic All Americans. "Academics is the main reason each one of our student athletes are here on campus therefore we hold each member to high standard."
Champions of Character Member
As a member of the NAIA, the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference is proud to endorse the true spirit of competition through the Champions of Character Program. The five core values of the program go well beyond the court and include integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership. This year's representative from the CUAA Softball team is Brittany Linse (SR/South Lyon, MI).
"There is no better person or player more deserving of the Champions of Character award then Brittany Linse. Her life consists of school, softball, working three jobs, being a servant leader as she is always willing to help anyone out at any time. She is a happy-go-lucky individual and has taught me so much in the five years I have known her."
The Cardinals will coninue their positive momentum in an effort to make a deep post season run at the WHAC conference tournament tomorrow. The Cardinals received the #4 seed in the double elimnation tournament and will face #5 Siena Heights. A Cardinal preview and tournament details can be found here.