Flashback Friday looks at the top moments from the 2015-16 athletic year at the College of Staten Island. Our runner-up for the top moment of 2015-16 was the CSI women’s softball team’s big win over Neumann University in the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament. Facing elimination and having not scored a run in 12 innings to that point, CSI launched a feverish comeback to upset the Knights, 3-2, thanks to a trio of runs in the game’s sixth inning.
#2 – Softball scores late come-from-behind win over Neumann in NCAA Tournament
Date: May 14, 2016
Who: Women’s Softball
Where: The College of New Jersey – Ewing, NJ
What Happened: After day one of the NCAA Division III Softball Regionals played at the College of New Jersey, both CSI and Neumann University faced elimination having come off disappointing losses. The Dolphins narrowly dropped a 1-0 decision to hosts TCNJ after a lengthy rain delay, and the scoreless streak continued the next day in the sunshine against the Knights. Haley Broomell kept CSI off-balance while NU put up two runs in the game’s fourth inning to take what seemed to be a commanding lead. But down to their final six outs, CSI finally started to get things going their way. Senior Christina Tufano started things off with a double, and first-year sophomore Vanessa Jioia legged out an infield single to represent the tying run. Jioia made another terrific play gaining second on a Kristy Colangelo fielder’s choice, that scored Tufano, and then she raced into third base when Chyanne Gilliam flied out on the next at-bat. After a foul-out, CSI was down to their final out of the inning, when Ashley Notaro bounced one back to Broomall, legging out another infield hit while scoring Jioia. One at-bat later and with Colangelo at third base, Nicolette Trapani laced a single to left field to score home what would hold up as the winning run. Jacqueline Cautela, who was taken out of the pitcher’s circle in the sixth, came back in for the seventh inning and retired Neumann in order to secure the win. For the Dolphins, it marked the second consecutive season that the team was able to score a win in NCAA postseason play, and with a healthy lot of returning players in 2017, the Dolphins are hoping for more advanced postseason play this upcoming season.
Q&A…with Vanessa Jioia
This was your first year on the team as a transfer. What was the dynamic like during the preseason for you getting ready for the year and defending a championship? Because I was a transfer from preseason workouts, I just knew I had to work hard like everyone else. Mike (Wilson), our Strength & Conditioning Coach, did an excellent job preparing us for our tiring season. The championship and regionals were always on the agenda from the jump.
You guys had a good draw in the NCAA’s and everyone felt that it was a group that CSI could win. What were your impressions of the field going in and getting ready to play those teams? Our team is great. We were in all of the games we played. I felt that even though there was a huge rain delay the first day, we were ready to win. We were a little annoyed that it kept raining on us, but we made it work with a friendly dance battle with TCNJ.
It must have been frustrating playing so well but coming short against TCNJ in the opening game. What did the team do to stay upbeat and motivated after that disappointing game? It was frustrating especially because we only lost 1-0 but our team loves to have fun. On our bus rides to and from away games all we do is sing and cheer. Our coaches love our enthusiasm as well! It wasn’t any different, after that loss. We all try and pick each other up when we are down.
Against Neumann it was more of the same and you guys couldn’t seem to get it going offensively until late in the game. What was Neumann doing to keep you off balance? Our bats were a little off because their pitcher was slower than the TCNJ pitcher from the day before. I remember telling the team to wait until the last second to swing. That team did a great job keeping us off balance.
Finally in the 6th inning you guys erupted and you helped things along with an infield single and got the tying run on base. What were you trying to do in that situation and could you feel the momentum starting to turn? I knew I needed to take my own advice and sit back on the pitches. When I got that single I was determined to make it home. I definitely felt the momentum turn. There was a fly out that I tagged up on from second and went to third, and when I was safe, I looked up at our fans and they were going crazy. I knew we would win after that moment.
You came in on another infield single and then you took the lead with a Nicolette Trapani hit later in the inning. How exhilarating was it to come from behind and take the lead? It was crazy! I was so happy because I knew we were going to beat them. I felt so proud of my team for fighting when we were down.
This team’s goal coming into the season was to make noise in the NCAA Regionals. Do you feel like the team fulfilled its goal, having played three really close and hard-fought games at the Regional? We definitely turned some heads. We were, and still are for this upcoming season, a force to be reckoned with.
With a lot of talent coming back in 2017, including you, what are your hopes for the upcoming school year? I hope all of my teammates and I get really good GPA’s throughout the year because we are student-athletes and school comes first! Additionally, I hope we keep up the winning tradition by winning our 5th consecutive championship and competing at the regional level.