Liggiero Tabbed as NECC Player of the Year; Five Nighthawks Named All-NECC

Photos by Mike Broglio
Photos by Mike Broglio

ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Senior centerfielder Sheri Liggiero (Tewksbury, Mass.) was selected as the 2016 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Player of the Year, announced Monday afternoon. Leading all of NCAA Division III in runs scored, Liggiero headlined five Nighthawks on the All-Conference squad.

Liggiero led the conference in seven offensive categories to earn her fourth All-NECC First Team nod. Registering a career year posting a program single-season record with a .538 batting average, she surpassed the program single-season mark in hits with conference leading 63 which included a NECC leading 15 doubles. Atop the Nighthawk line-up, she paced the offense with a staggering 1.477 OPS (.828 SLG%, .649 OBP)  while was perfect patrolling the vast centerfield, recording 32 putouts with zero errors against NECC foes to lead the Nighthawks to a program-best 14-4 NECC record and their highest seeding – second – in the Championship Tournament.

Senior shortstop Alyssa Donovan (West Haven, Conn.) earned her fourth All-Conference selection being named to the All-NECC Second Team at shortstop as well as earned NECC All-Sportsmanship Team recognition. The Southwestern Connecticut native also recorded a career year hitting .426 with an outstanding 1.224 OPS (.471 SLG%, .483 OBP) to go along with six doubles, eight triples, four homeruns and 26 RBI from the top of the Nighthawk line-up. Against conference opponents, Donovan posted a .394 batting average with a staggering .459 on-base percentage from the one-spot in the Nighthawk line-up while playing outstanding defense at shortstop committing just three errors in 85 total chances.

Leading the conference with an .854 slugging percentage - .984 against NECC foes, first year backstop Noelle Sass (Randolph, Mass.) was named to the All-NECC Second Team at catcher. Over the course of her freshman campaign, she broke the program's all-time homerun record, hitting 11 on the season including a conference-leading, eight against NECC opponents. Providing the Nighthawks with a power-bat to the middle of the line-up, Sass also surpassed the single-season record for RBI, driving in 50 in a season – including 31 against conference foes to lead all NECC rookies.

Junior first baseman Liz Kia (Kea'au, Hawaii) was named to the All-Conference Third Team following a career year on the diamond. Posting a career-best, .349 batting average with seven doubles and five triples, Kia was one of the Nighthawks clutch hitters this season with two walk-off singles as well as two game-winning triples against New England College in a 9-7 victory on March 9th and Elms College in a 6-5 win on April 19th. In addition, she became the third Newbury female student-athlete to earn all-conference honors in two separate sports after being selected to the women's soccer All-NECC Second Team as a defender in the fall.

First year third baseman Alexis Vieira (Pawtucket, R.I.) rounded out the Nighthawks on the All-Conference team, earning All-NECC Third Team recognition. The Rhode Island native finished her freshman season posting a .400 batting average (30-75) with two doubles, one homerun and 23 RBI while scoring nine runs. In a 7-6 come-from-behind victory against Regis College in the NECC Championship Tournament, Vieira drove in the game-winning run with a base-hit through the left-side of the infield to knock the Pride out of the tournament.


2016 NECC Softball All-Conference Team

Player of the Year: Sheri Liggiero, Newbury
Pitcher of the Year: Kelsey Norberg, Becker
Rookie of the Year: Jennifer Vanalphen, Becker
Coach of the Year: Richard Hurley, Becker College


All-NECC First Team
1B –  Shannon O'Neil, Mitchell (Sr., Chicopee, Mass.)
2B – Rebecca Carkhuff, Becker (So., Amherst, Mass.)
3B – Samantha Lee, Becker (So. Prospect, Conn.)
SS – Jennifer VanAlphen, Becker (Fr., Hudson, N.Y.)
C – Mekenzi Golden, Lesley (Jr., Laguna Niguel, Calif.)
P – Kelsey Norberg, Becker (Sr., Uxbridge, Mass)
P – Katie Cuozzo, Regis (Sr., Lynn, Mass)
OF – Sheri Liggiero, Newbury (Sr., Tewksbury, Mass)
OF – Jess Reynolds, Lesley (Sr., Londonderry, N.H.)
OF – Jessica Wheelahan, Becker (Sr., Watertown, Conn.)
DP – Brianna Herforth, Becker (So., Peru, Mass.)


All-NECC Second Team
1B – Alyssa McKinnon, Regis (Sr., Rowley, Mass)
2B – Michaela Nejaime, Regis (Sr., Sandisfield, Mass.)
3B – Elizabeth Olszewski, Elms (So., Canterbury, Conn.)
SS – Alyssa Donovan, Newbury (Sr., West Haven, Conn.)
C – Noelle Sass, Newbury (Fr., Randolph, Mass)
P – Kaera Wyse, Lesley (So., Reading, Mass.)|
P – Brittany Fiederlein, Mitchell (Jr., E. Hampton, Conn.)
OF – Keyla Oliveras, Elms (Fr., Springfield, Mass.)
OF – Jenny Groman, Mitchell (Sr., New Britain, Conn.)
OF – Samantha Leahon, Wheelock (Fr. Castleton, N.Y.)
DP –Taylor Duchesneau, Mitchell (Fr., Killingly, Conn.)


All-NECC Third Team
Abby Henderson, Lesley (Fr., 1B, Rochester, N.H.)
Liz Kia, Newbury (Jr., 1B, Kea'au, Hawaii)
Alexis Vieira, Newbury (Fr., Pawtucket, R.I.)
Lauren Vallee, Bay Path (So., SS, Bristol, Conn.)
Selena Quezada, Lesley (Sr., SS, West Covina, Calif.)
Rachael Simpson, Wheelock (So., 2B, Littleton, Mass)
Nicole Matthews, Southern Vt. (So., C, Pittstown, N.Y)
Allison Caloggero, Regis (Jr., 3B, Medford, Mass.)


All Sportsmanship Team
Katrina Peck, Bay Path (Fr., C, Newington, Conn.)
Katelyn MacLean, Becker (Sr., OF, North Reading, Mass.)
Samantha Alvino, Elms (Sr., 1B/C, Holtsville, N.Y.)
Ashleigh Ramirez, Lesley (Sr., OF, Newport, Ore.)
Shannon O'Neil, Mitchell (Sr., 1B, Chicopee, Mass.)
Alyssa Donovan, Newbury (Sr., SS, West Haven, Conn.)
Brianna Napoleone, Regis (Fr., IF, Medford, Mass.)
Carissa Bottisti, Southern Vermont (Fr., OF, Amsterdam, N.Y.)
Kathryn Fleming (Sr., SS, West Boylston, Mass.)