May 3, 2010

Five earn softball All-UAA honors, Johnson and Dubay named Coaching Staff of the Year

WALTHAM, Mass. — Having just concluded their most successful regular season in program history, the Brandeis University softball team earned numerous honors from the University Athletic Association. Earning first-team All-UAA selections were senior pitcher Emily Vaillette of Milford, N.H, junior 2B Melisa Cagar of Ridgewood, N.J., and sophomore OF Brittany Grimm of Perkiomenville, Pa., while the Judges' catcher/designated platoon of senior Erin Ross of Manalapan, N.J., and rookie Stacy Berg of Owings Mills, Md., were both selected to the second team. In addition, fourth-year head coach Jessica Johnson and assistant Melissa Dubay were named the 2010 UAA Coaching Staff of the Year.

Vaillette had one of the most successful seasons ever by a Brandeis pitcher. She finished the regular season with a 15-4 record with two saves and a school-record 1.49 earned-run average. Vaillette threw nine complete games, three shutouts and struck out 93 batters in 117.2 innings while holding opponents to a .213 batting average against, lowest in the UAA. She tied for second in the conference in wins and was third in ERA. For her career, Vaillette is also on pace for a school record with a 2.28 ERA, while her 38 career wins are second in school history.

Cagar earned first-team All-UAA recognition for the second year in a row and second base. She led the team and finished second in the UAA in runs scored with 42 and stolen bases  with 29. Cagar batted .348, fifth on the team with a .563 slugging percentage that ranked fourth on the squad. She had 11 multi-hit games and nine games with two or more stolen bases. Cagar is the Judges' all-time leader in steals with 71 with one more season to play, plus possible postseason games this year. She was the UAA Player of the Week on April 26.

Grimm earned her first All-Association honor after leading the Judges in hitting with a .432 batting average (fifth in the UAA), base hits with 51 and total bases with 83 (third in the UAA). Grimm also finished second on the team and third in the conference in slugging (.703) and runs scored (40). Grimm had 10 doubles, two triples and six home runs and was named UAA Player of the Week on March 28.

Berg was the UAA's top slugger, leading the circuit with a .757 slugging percentage, tying for the league lead with 10 home runs and finishing second with 43 RBI. Berg, the April 21 UAA Player of the Week, became just the third player in school history with 10 home runs and 40 RBI in a single season, with her 43 RBI tied for the second-highest total in a single campaign at Brandeis. Berg also finished third on the squad with 33 runs scored and 78 stolen bases. In the latest NCAA Division III statistical rankings, she is among the national leaders in Division III in RBI per game (1.39, 11th) and home runs per game (0.32, 14th).

Ross became the second player in school history to earn All-UAA honors four years in a row. She was a second-team selection in 2007 and 2009 and a first-team honoree in 2008. Ross batted .340 on the season with a team-leading 13 doubles, second-most in the UAA. She was fourth on the team with 27 RBI and fifth with 36 base hits. She also had a pair of home runs for the Judges. Ross is currently tied for fourth all-time with 38 career doubles, while her 154 games played stand alone in fourth place. Ross is tied for sixth with 91 career RBI and needs one more hit to become the eight player in Brandeis history with 150 for her career.

Under the leadership of UAA Coaches of the Year Johnson and Dubay, the Brandeis softball team ended the regular season with a record of 27-7-1, setting a school-record with a .786 winning percentage. The Judges earned their first-ever national ranking from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, reaching as high as No. 14 in Division III on two occasions. The Judges, who were ranked second in the New England region for most of the season, are poised to earn the program's first-ever NCAA Division III softball tournament berth.

Vaillette is a 2006 graduate of Milford High School. She is the daughter of David and Carolyn Vaillette, Milford, N.H.

Cagar is a 2007 graduate of Ridgewood High School. She is the daughter of Cengiz and Virginia Cagar, Ridgewood, N.J.

Grimm is a 2008 graduate of Perkiomen Valley High School. She is the daughter of Kevin and Marie Grimm, Perkiomenville, Pa.

Berg is a 2010 graduate of McDonogh High School. She is the daughter of he is the daughter of Howard and Barbara Berg, Owings Mills, Md.

Ross is a 2006 graduate of Manalapan High School.  She is the daughter of Steven and Marie Ross of Manalapan, N.J.

For more information on Brandeis softball, please visit our web site at http://www.brandeisjudges.com/sports/spring/soft.