UAlbany Communications and Marketing 2018 Softball Season Preview UAlbany Sports Information 02-12-2018 Related Links Softball Chases Another Championship Sign Up For Free Email Updates ALBANY, N.Y.- The University at Albany softball program is gearing up to kick off its 2017-18 campaign. The Great Danes' first competition will take place in Madeira Beach, Fla., at the EMU Madeira Beach Spring Invitational. Head Coach Chris Cannata is entering her 24th season with the Great Danes. TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE Friday, Feb. 23: vs. Rhode Island 4:00 PM Saturday, Feb. 24: vs. Nicholls 1:30 PM vs. Kent State 6:30 PM Sunday, Feb. 25: vs. Delaware 9:00 AM vs. Eastern Michigan 11:30 AM 2017 IN REVIEW UAlbany won the 2017 America East title, defeating Maine, 6-1, in the championship game. The Great Danes graduated five seniors, including Kayla Bailey, Caitlin Cooper, Samantha Broking, Mackenzie Cleary, and Elizabeth Snow. Snow was named to the coSIDA Academic All-America Division I Softball Third Team, being recognized for her performance in softball as well as academics. Snow was also named to the National Fast Pitch Coaches Association All-Northeast Region Second Team, an honor she also had received the year prior. Mackenzie Cleary was named Second Team All-Conference during the 2017 season. UALBANY RETURNS TWO PLAYERS WHO RECEIVED AMERICA EAST HONORS IN 2017 Second-Team All-Conference member Donna Conrad and All-Academic Team member Devin Durando will lead the Great Danes in the 2018 season. Devin Durando was listed on the 2015-16 America East Commissioner's Honor Roll and the 2014-15 America East Honor Roll. Donna Conrad totaled a .313 batting average last season. Offensively, she produced 40 hits and scored 25 times. Last season she totaled 31 RBIs and four home runs. In the outfield, Conrad accounted for 49 putouts with no errors. FOUR NEWCOMERS ADDED TO ROSTER Four Great Danes will be wearing the UAlbany jersey for the first time in Madeira Beach. Freshmen newcomers include: Katie Falotico (Infielder), Amelia Ely (Infielder), Maranda Jimenez (Right-handed Pitcher), and Alexis Phillips (Infielder/Outfielder). Transfers added to the roster include: Taylor Light (University at Buffalo). KATE GENTILE ENTERS HER SECOND SEASON ON THE COACHING STAFF Coach Gentile came to UAlbany after spending time overseas in North Holland, where she served as the assistant softball coach at Olympia Haarlem, focusing primarily on pitchers and catchers. In 2012, she was an assistant coach at California State University, East Bay. Previous to Gentile’s coaching career, she was a member of the 2002-04 Penn State softball team, competing in both the NCAA regional tournament (2003) and the Big Ten tournament (2004). Gentile graduated from Penn State in 2004 with a B.A. in Political Science. Gentile is starting her second season on the coaching staff after coming off of her first America East title win with the Great Danes. DANES SELECTED FIFTH IN AMERICA EAST PRESEASON POLL With 22 total points, UAlbany placed fifth behind Stony Brook (23 points) in the America East Preseason Poll. Binghamton earned the first-place vote with a total of 33 points. Maine and UMass Lowell tied for second, each earning 26 points. UMBC placed sixth with 10 points, followed by Hartford with 7 points. SCOUTING THE EMU MADEIRA BEACH SPRING INVITATIONAL KENT STATE: Kent State had a record of 15-9 in the Mid-American conference last season and a record of 33-28 overall. Kent State finished fourth in its conference and first in the conference tournament. Kent State has seven newcomers this season. Key players: Junior Bailey Brownfield hit .324 last season with 57 hits and 20 RBIs. Senior Holly Speers batted .317 with 38 hits and 35 RBIs. NICHOLLS: Nicholls is currently 5-2 this season, having started their 2018 season on February 16th. Last year, they finished 37-20 overall and 19-8 in their conference. Key Player: Samantha Mracich batted .400 for the first 7 games of the 2018 season, with 6 hits and one double. EASTERN MICHIGAN: Eastern Michigan had an overall record of 17-34 and a conference record of 3-20, finishing 11th in the Mid-American Conference. The team will take on four newcomers this season. Key Player: Brandice Olmos batted .285 last season with 41 hits and 19 RBIs. DELAWARE: Delaware tied for sixth place in the CAA softball preseason poll. Delaware, which will be led by third-year head coach John Seneca, returns 12 letter-winners and nine starters for the 2018 season. The Blue Hens went 24-29 last season and advanced to the CAA Tournament for the second straight year with a 10-11 conference record. Key Player: Senior Mariah Kondravy is a second team All-Northeast Region and All-CAA selection. Her batting average was .365 last season, with 62 hits and 19 doubles. RHODE ISLAND: Rhode Island was picked to finish 8th in the A-10 preseason poll. Rhode Island finished 8-15 in conference play last season, more than doubling its wins from the previous year. Key Player: Freshman Erika Yeager was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team in 2017. Her batting average was .301 with 37 hits and 21 RBIs.