NEW HAVEN, Conn. (April 26, 2016) -- Caldwell University softball standout Marisa Monasseri on Tuesday was named the 2016 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Softball Player of the Year, as announced by CACC Commissioner Dan Mara. Monasseri, who also garnered a spot on the All-CACC First Team as a catcher, highlighted a list of standouts who earned various all-conference and major awards following the conclusion of the regular season.
In addition to Monasseri's major honor, Post University's Samantha Esque laid her claim to being one of the finest pitchers in conference history, as she took home the CACC Pitcher-of-the-Year honor for the second-straight year. Felician University's Zeaenna Brackett was named the CACC Rookie of the Year, while Dominican College's Joe Burbridge collected the BSN Sports CACC Coach-of-the-Year honor for his masterful work guiding the Chargers to a second-place finish in 2016.
Monasseri has been nothing short of one of the best players in the nation this season -- and not just the CACC. She is batting .436 this season with 16 home runs, 51 runs batted in and 30 runs scored, while also posting a .570 on-base percentage and a .955 slugging percentage. All of those totals, except for runs scored, lead the CACC, while all of those rank among the national leaders. Monasseri is third in slugging percentage in Division II and fourth in on-base percentage, while her 16 blasts are the 11th most in the nation.
She has had three multi-home run games this season and has driven in at least three runs in six outings. Monasseri has knocked in a season-high five runs in three games, including most recently in an 8-0 win over Chestnut Hill College in game two of a doubleheader on April 13. She has also stroked multiple hits in 15 contests throughout the campaign.
Monasseri played a huge role in the Cougars winning the 2016 CACC Regular Season Championship and locking up the No. 1 seed in this week's CACC Championship, which will be held Thursday-Saturday at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N.J.
Esque's encore performance in 2016 -- after winning the league's top pitcher award last season -- was nothing short of spectacular, as she claimed pitcher-of-the-year honors for the second time. Esque was 19-7 with a pair of saves in 31 appearances including 23 starts in 2016. She posted an earned run average of 1.33 over 178.2 innings of work, while also striking out 149 compared to just 15 walks.
Esque led the CACC in wins, starts, complete games, shutouts (10), innings pitched and strikeouts. The opposition hit just .203 against her, which was the third lowest average against a hurler in the conference this season. Esque put together a string of three-straight appearances where she limited the opposing lineup to just one hit in each game, including back-to-back starts versus Philadelphia University (March 31) and Felician (April 6). Esque was named to the All-CACC First Team as well.
Brackett had an impressive debut campaign in 2016, as she helped guide the Golden Falcons to a spot in this week's championship tournament. She batted .403 as a rookie, while also homering three times and driving in 19 runs. Brackett also swiped 14 bases (2nd most in the CACC) and crossed home plate 35 times. Brackett ranked among the top five in the CACC in several offensive categories including triples (1st, 8), total bases (3rd, 95), batting average (3rd), stolen bases (2nd) and slugging percentage (3rd, .617).
Burbridge earned the BSN Coach-of-the-Year accolade after guiding Dominican to a 30-14-1 overall record and a 22-4 mark in the CACC, narrowly finishing one game out of the first-place spot in the regular season standings. The Chargers closed out the regular season in fine fashion by winning 12 of their last 13, including a stretch of eight straight from April 13-17. Dominican enters the CACC Championship as the No. 2 seed, as last season the Chargers advanced all the way to conference championship final against Caldwell.
The other major award handed out on Tuesday was the CACC Softball Team Sportsmanship Award, which was given to Goldey-Beacom College and head coach Bill Streets, who demonstrated outstanding character and sportsmanship throughout the 2016 campaign.
Joining Monasseri and Esque on the All-CACC First Team were Wilmington University's Colby Wyatt (1B), Caldwell's Lauren Frye (2B), Post's Kayla Kresley (3B), Dominican's Jillian Regan (SS), Dominican's Elontay Collins (OF), Caldwell's Amy Hickman and Caitlin McCready (OF), Dominican's Desiree Joines (P), Caldwell's Amber Padilla (P), Dominican's Shannon Haukap (Des. Player), Caldwell's Brielle Reighn (Utility Player-Non Pitcher) and Wilmington's Danielle Bradley (Utility Player-Pitcher).
The All-CACC Second Team also featured 12 standouts including University of the Sciences' Brittany Granahan (1B), Wilmington's Jazmeen Llamas (2B), Dominican's Taylor Gilligan (3B), Holy Family University's Taylor Favinger (SS), Wilmington's Shannon Brantley (C), Dominican's Emily Luzetsky (OF), Post's Emily Schaffer (OF), Wilmington's Becca Stanley (OF), Felician's Ashley Owens (P), Caldwell's Sydney Ponto (P), Holy Family's Bailey Walters (P), Holy Family's Samantha Klem (DP), Post's Kate Dawson (Utility-Non Pitcher) and Holy Family's Koreen Orozco (Utility-Pitcher).
The award winners will be recognized at the CACC Softball Championship Banquet on Wednesday night on the eve of the tournament in Toms River, N.J.
The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference is an NCAA Division II Conference composed of 14 institutions in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The member institutions are Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Chestnut Hill College, Concordia (N.Y.) College, Dominican (N.Y.) College, Felician University, Georgian Court University, Goldey-Beacom College, Holy Family University, Nyack College, Philadelphia University, Post University of Waterbury, University of the Sciences, and Wilmington University.
2016 CACC SOFTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Marisa Monasseri (Caldwell)
2016 CACC SOFTBALL PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Samantha Esque (Post)
2016 CACC SOFTBALL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Zeaenna Brackett (Felician)
2016 BSN SPORTS CACC SOFTBALL COACH OF THE YEAR
Joe Burbridge (Dominican)
2016 CACC SOFTBALL TEAM SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD
2016 CACC SOFTBALL ALL-CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM
1B Colby Wyatt (Wilmington)
2B Lauren Frye (Caldwell)
3B Kayla Kresley (Post)
SS Jillian Regan (Dominican)
C Marisa Monasseri (Caldwell)
OF Elontay Collins (Dominican)
OF Amy Hickman (Caldwell)
OF Caitlin McCready (Caldwell)
P Samantha Esque (Post)
P Desiree Joines (Dominican)
P Amber Padilla (Caldwell)
DP Shannon Haukap (Dominican)
Util (Non-Pitch.) Brielle Reighn (Caldwell)
Util (Pitch.) Danielle Bradley (Wilmington)
2016 CACC SOFTBALL ALL-CONFERENCE SECOND TEAM
1B Brittany Granahan (USciences)
2B Jazmeen Llamas (Wilmington)
3B Taylor Gilligan (Dominican)
SS Taylor Favinger (Holy Family)
C Shannon Brantley (Wilmington)
OF Emily Luzetsky (Dominican)
OF Emily Schaffer (Post)
OF Becca Stanley (Wilmington)
P Ashley Owens (Felician)
P Sydney Ponto (Caldwell)
P Bailey Walters (Holy Family)
DP Samantha Klem (Holy Family)
Util (Non-Pitch.) Kate Dawson (Post)
Util (Pitch.) Koreen Orozco (Holy Family)