Westwood, MA --- Senior Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) and freshman Marissa Gonzales (Los Angeles, CA) earned major awards as the NEWMAC All-Conference accolades were announced Tuesday. Biney was named as the NEWMAC Athlete of the Year while Gonzales was selected as NEWMAC Rookie of the Year. Senior RiAnna May (Westminster, CO) was the squad's NEWMAC All-Sportsmanship team honoree.
Biney, the program's second athlete of the year selection in three seasons and women's basketball co-athlete of the year this past winter, was joined on the first team by junior Caraline Wood (Averill Park, NY). The second team featured senior Nina Murphy-Cook (Roseville, CA), Gonzales, senior Kelsey Saucier (Worcester, MA) and junior Renee LeClaire (Merrimack, NH).
A four time All-Conference honoree, Biney earned her third first team nod in 2018. The center fielder batted a career-best .446 with 10 doubles, eight triples, four home runs, 17 RBI, 50 runs scored and 35 stolen bases. Having only been caught stealing four times in 113 career attempts, Biney set the NCAA (all divisions) record with 98 consecutive successful stolen bases. Even more impressive, the local product accomplished the feat before being caught for the first time.
Following the conference tournament, Biney ranks first in hits (62), triples, total bases (100) and runs, and is second in stolen bases, batting average, on base percentage (.515) and slugging percentage (.719). Biney enjoyed a 10-game hitting streak (April 7 – April 14) including three games with two or more. Overall, the senior totaled 17 multi-hit games featuring seven conference regular season matchups.
Wood, a second teamer in 2016, returned to the lineup in 2018 and led the NEWMAC with 45 RBI following tournament action. The junior was also third with seven home runs (two grand slams) and 86 total bases, and fourth in batting average (.421) and slugging percentage (.711). In all, Wood was 51-for-121 with 20 extra base hits, 33 runs scored and only struck out four times. Of Wood's 16 multi-hit games, nine of the 10 versus conference foes were during the regular season.
Gonzales, the program's third rookie of the year honoree in four seasons, batted .392 with 14 extra base hits, 38 RBI, 35 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. The shortstop ranked fourth overall and collected a NEWMAC-best 21 RBI in conference games. Gonzales began the season with a 15-game hitting streak, including nine of the multi-hit variety, and accumulated more than one in a contest 15 times.
Murphy-Cook, the 2015 rookie of the year and 2015 and 2016 first teamer, totaled 48 stolen bases to lead the conference and the region, as well as rank second in Division III following the NEWMAC tournament, which saw the senior finish second all-time in D3 with 174 career stolen bases. The infielder was also second in hits (55) and third in runs (39) among conference peers. Murphy-Cook, who batted .390 with 52 singles and 12 RBI, opened the season with an 18-game hitting streak and finished with 15 multi-hit games.
Saucier saved her best for last with a 12-5 record in 101 innings over 22 appearances and 17 starts with a 2.50 ERA. The senior enjoyed a pair of four-game winning streaks and victories over Ohio Northern in Florida and in the opener versus then-No. 12 Amherst. Saucier struck out a season-high six versus Worcester State and at Smith while holding opponents to .171 in NEWMAC action. In all, the local product went 40-17 in 317 innings with 47 games started and a 2.83 ERA to go with 298 strikeouts in 82 appearances.
LeClaire, a first teamer a year ago, was fourth in triples and home runs with six apiece among NEWMAC student-athletes. In 42 games, the junior batted .331 with 16 extra base hits, 30 RBI and 20 runs. LeClaire collected a pair of hits in the first three contests of an eight-game hitting streak that began in Florida and closed it out with a season-high four in game two at Emerson and a pair in the first game versus Amherst. Six of 11 multi-hit games came in conference action featuring five hits versus Wheaton.
Softball (29-13) narrowly missed a third NCAA invite in four years after finishing second in the NEWMAC regular season for fifth-year head coach Whitney Goldstein. In non-conference action, the Engineers defeated No. 19, and regional host, TCNJ and Ohio Northern during the early portion of the season, and split with No. 25 Amherst in late March. (rankings as of May 2)