Softball Signs Four For Class Of 2015
Nov. 29, 2010
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Two-time defending Conference USA Coach-of-the-Year and National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Mideast Region Coaching-Staff-of-the-Year leader Tracey Kee announced Monday the addition of four freshmen to her roster for next year. Sarah Christian (Greenville, N.C.), Emma Mendoker (Amherst, Mass.), Sara Pacioni (Danville, Calif.), and Courtney Smith (Yuba City, Calif.) have signed national letters-of-intent to attend East Carolina and play softball with the Pirates beginning in the fall of 2011.
"I am so excited about our 2011 class," Kee said. "I feel we have signed a special group of student-athletes with wonderful families. They understand the importance of academics, giving back to the community and what it means to don the purple and gold.
"They are fierce competitors and relentless workers who will help carry on the winning tradition we have built here at East Carolina for years to come."
Sarah Christian, Pitcher, 5-5, Greenville, N.C. (D.H. Conley)
Aside from her softball accomplishments, Christian has excelled in the classroom. She sports a 4.57 grade-point average and is a member of the Beta Club, National Honor Society and the National Society of High School Scholars. She was included in the Who's Who Among American High School Students and serves as the student body vice president after being elected the president of her junior class a year ago.
Christian on Choosing East Carolina: "I chose ECU because I loved the school spirit, great softball program, proximity of the campus to my home and the friendly environment. Through softball, I have traveled to many places across the country and have realized how much I love Greenville and the ECU environment. I believe East Carolina will put me in a position to excel as a student-athlete. I am very excited to begin my four-year journey as a Pirate."
Kee on Christian: "We have watched Sarah grow up on the softball field right before our eyes. To witness her pitching maturity first hand over her career was a luxury. She is a fierce competitor, and a diligent worker. Her ability to make the right pitches at the right times, regardless of the pressure facing her, will benefit Sarah throughout her collegiate career. Time and time again, she put her team in a position to win; I have no doubt she'll do the same thing for our program."
Emma Mendoker, Pitcher, 5-8, Amherst, Mass. (Amherst Regional)
In July, she was named the most valuable player at the Bay State summer games, leading the West squad to the gold medal with a 2-1 victory over the Metro team. She fanned 11 and drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh to drive in the winning run. She also enhanced her softball skills playing for the Polar Crush Gold and taking part in two of the biggest summer softball tournaments, the ASA Gold Nationals and the Independence Day Tournament. In addition to her athletic accomplishments, she holds a 3.8 grade-point average and was selected for the high school's Effort in the Sciences award, Spanish 2 Effort award and Art Achievement award.
Mendoker on Choosing East Carolina: "Since I began playing softball, my main goal was to find a Division I school that would help me continue to grow to be the best softball player and student I could possibly become. Once I was introduced to ECU, I knew my dreams, and lifetime goals, would be fulfilled. It's an incredible university with one of the best softball programs in the country.
"The coaches are so welcoming. When I saw them practice with the girls, they had the intensity and the passion I knew would push me to my highest level as a player. When I went for my official visit, I had the opportunity to hang out with the girls and have a taste of what it would be like to live at East Carolina University. I easily fit in with the softball girls, and they truly made me feel like I was part of the Pirate family. I cannot wait for the years ahead."
Kee on Mendoker: "Emma is one of those student-athletes who becomes a completely different person when she steps on the mound. She's quiet and reserved off the field, intense and competitive with the ball in her hands. She's a proven winner who will challenge hitters pitch after pitch. Emma is relentless in her training. Her pure desire to be the absolute best pitcher she can be will pay huge dividends to our program and its future."
Sara Pacioni, Utility, 5-3, Danville, Calif. (San Ramon Valley)
Pacioni on Choosing East Carolina: "I chose ECU because the moment I stepped on campus, I felt at home. I knew the academic and athletic environments were exactly what I was looking for in a university. I was impressed with everything the school had to offer and couldn't imagine any other university that could top ECU."
East Carolina Associate Head Coach Natalie Kozlowski on Pacioni: "Sara is a true utility player in the sense that she can catch, play on the dirt or even make the move to the outfield. She has experience playing numerous positions at the ASA Gold level. At the plate she has a very good eye for the ball and will help solidify our offense. Sara is a very hard worker and we are excited to have her in a Pirate uniform."
Courtney Smith, Pitcher, 5-8, Yuba City, Calif. (River Valley)
Smith also has excelled in the classroom and community during her time at River Valley. An honor roll member all four years of high school, Smith was also a part of Gifted and Talented Education while at the middle school level. She has been an "Adopt a Family" volunteer since 2001, a "Toys for Tots" volunteer the last five years, a Little League volunteer instructor the last three years and a Beale Air Force Base Family Support Drive volunteer in 2007.
Smith on Choosing East Carolina: "ECU offers everything I desire in a university. It has a competitive, Division I softball team that is capable of going far. It also has a great support system to assist athletes in achieving and excelling academically.
"ECU has fantastic community support. I loved driving through town seeing the Pirate flags flying. I can't wait to be part of it. I am especially excited to play for Coach Kee and Coach Koz. They are proven on the field and very good people."
Kee on Smith: "Courtney's ability to compete game after game is a true sign of her eagerness to win. Her composure on the mound is very comforting. Her ability to put a team on her shoulders is quite evident. Courtney's continued commitment to her craft of pitching is going to help us continue our program's winning ways."