The seven seniors on the softball team were an integral part of the program’s first ever conference championship and NCAA Championship tournament appearance. These seven were impactful members of the program both on the field and off, helping establish the culture of the program under the Colletti era and setting the bar for the program moving forward.
During the 2017 season, the team went 30-13 overall and 10-6 in the MAC Commonwealth. They entered the conference tournament as the fourth seed, defeating Hood in the play-in game before battling nationally-ranked Messiah for 19 innings, ultimately losing the game 1-0. After being eliminated from the tournament the next day by Lebanon Valley, the Knights entered the ECAC Tournament as the number one seed, besting NYU and Stockton to win the ECAC Division III Softball Championship.
Their sophomore season, the team went 26-14 overall and improved to 12-4 in the conference. A tougher regular season schedule proved to make a difference for the Scarlet and Grey, and the Knights entered the conference tournament as the number one seed for the first time in program history. They defeated Alvernia after getting a bye, and then fell to No. 2 Messiah in the semifinals, but they bounced back to defeat Lebanon Valley in six innings. Needing to beat the undefeated Falcons twice on Sunday, the Knights fell to Messiah 3-0 in the conference championship.
The 2019 season brought an even tougher schedule, playing two-time national champions UT Tyler on the season’s opening day in Florida. Though they started off a bit rocky, they quickly found their stride and went 13-3 in conference, earning the number one ranking entering the conference playoffs. Two straight 7-0 wins against both Widener and Albright brought the Knights to the championship game to face the Widener Pride. Arcadia defeated Widener 1-0 to take home the program’s first MAC Commonwealth Championship and earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Softball Championship tournament. The Knights travelled to The College of New Jersey as the third seed in the Ewing Regional. They lost their first ever NCAA tournament game to Randolph-Macon College on a squeeze bunt, 1-0. Facing elimination, the Scarlet and Grey came head to head with the host team, No. 9 TCNJ. The Knights blanked the Lions 3-0 to eliminate them from the NCAA tournament and earn the program’s first ever NCAA tournament win. The momentum carried into the next game that day, as Arcadia defeated Mount Aloysius 4-0 to advance to the Regional Final for a rematch with Randolph-Macon. Due to severe weather the rest of the weekend, the game wasn’t able to be played out, and as Randolph-Macon was undefeated, they advanced to Super Regionals, ending Arcadia’s historic season.
To begin their senior season, Arcadia traveled to William Peace University in Raleigh, North Carolina to play in the Grand Slam Triangle Classic. The Knights went 2-2 on the weekend, facing No. 2 Christopher Newport on the first day of the competition. After returning to Glenside, the Scarlet and Grey faced Misericordia, dropping both games of the doubleheader March 12 – the same day their season was cancelled due to the coronavirus.
“The class of 2020 was the propellant for the Arcadia Softball program,” said Head Coach Sarah Colletti.
“Two years prior to their arrival, I began the process of implementing the culture and the plans that I had equated with success, and then the class of 2020 came in and ignited the flame. Their talent from top to bottom was obviously an added bonus, but their talent would have meant nothing if they hadn’t bought into me and the process.”
Colletti continued, “While this group of women was on the field, they won 91 games, which would have absolutely soared over 100 after their senior season. They made it to the conference playoffs every year they were a part of the program, won the conference for the first time in 2019, and were picked first in the pre-season poll in 2020. Their impact will be felt for years to come, as they played a monumental part in putting Arcadia Softball on the map.”
When asked about what Arcadia Athletics has meant to her over the last four years, senior Bekah Good said, “Arcadia has provided me a safe place to grow, learn, struggle, compete and conquer over the last four years. Before college, I spent my whole high school career dreaming of what college would be like, and I entered in with countless expectations of myself and my experience.”
“At the time, the world of college and athletics seemed so big to me. The reality I’ve learned, however, is that college really is the training ground where we learn and grow and prepare for life beyond it. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, college athletics was the safe place for me to wrestle through what I believed not only about myself, but about others and about the world around me.”
“I would be lying if I tried to tell you that my four years at Arcadia were easy and always enjoyable, but I would describe my time here as important. My time as an Arcadia athlete has shaped me, not because it was everything I expected, but because it was everything that I needed to prepare for the world outside the chalk lines,” said Good.
“I consider Arcadia Athletics my family because we have stood together through the good and the bad times. We fight together on the field and off, and the bonds we have built are strong not because they are perfect, but because they have remained steady through both the victories and the struggles,” the senior first baseman remarked.
“Being a part of a family like this pushes you to look outside of yourself to what is best for others rather than just yourself. Doing life together may be messy at times, but it is so much more rich than trying to do it all yourself. There is a loyalty within Arcadia Athletics that goes across grades and sports teams – it is truly something special, and I’m proud to have been a part of it.”
Good has played in 76 games with 58 starts over the course of her career. She recorded 33 hits, including five home runs, three triples, and three doubles. She also tallied 27 RBI and 28 runs, as well as a 42% career slugging percentage and a 97.2% career fielding percentage. Her freshman season, Good was named the ECAC Division III Championship tournament MVP and was named to the All-Tournament team. Academically, the psychology major has been named to the ECAC Academic Honor Roll and the MAC Honor Roll.
“The Arcadia Softball program has all the makings of not only a championship program, but of a truly great program that leaves a lasting legacy. It takes time to build a legacy and we are well on our way, but we can’t take our foot off the gas. For this program to be great, it will require everyone to buy into something much bigger than themselves. It’s not easy to lay down your pride, and in some cases, your own personal goals and desires to propel the team forward, but it is so necessary if we want to go far,” Good said in her message to the program moving forward.
“Being a part of a team is about sacrifice. It requires us to see the bigger picture on the hardest days and look out for each other, knowing that when one succeeds, we all succeed. My prayer is that my senior class and I have led well and set an example of selflessness and hard work throughout our time in the program. It’s hard to walk away from something so meaningful, but I believe that those who will be taking our place as leaders will rise up to do the same. Together we can go so far.”
When asked about the legacy she hopes to have left behind to the program, Good said, “My prayer is that I have left behind a legacy of perseverance that reminded others to never take “no” for an answer. I hope that when others see me, they don’t just see the struggle, but they think of how I fought back. I hope it reminds them of the strength that comes from never giving up. My hope is that watching my fight has empowered them to do the same, and has reminded them of the strength that comes when they simply refuse to give up.”
“More importantly, I hope those who knew me during my time at Arcadia remember not so much me, but they remember how they felt around me. I hope they were reminded of how loved they are and how important their story is. Everyone in our AUSB family, from our staff to our athletes, are so different and unique. Everyone has a unique story that makes them, well, them.”
“It’s been a blessing and a privilege to experience life alongside my coaches and teammates and to hear their hearts for our sport as well as life beyond the field. I hope that they always remember how much I loved them, and how much I always will.”
To her coaches, Good says: “Thank you for exemplifying tough love to my teammates and myself every day, on the field and off. It wasn’t always fun or glamorous, and it certainly didn’t have the storybook ending that we all hoped for, but there is something to be said for all the mountains that we conquered in between. You have shown me that authentic love and concern for someone isn’t always warm and fuzzy. Sometimes it looks like pushing us a little harder at practice because you know we’re capable of better. Sometimes it looks like having hard conversations that require us to level up and be a better version of ourselves tomorrow.”
“Though at the time I may have wanted someone to give me all the answers, my coaches, trainers, and support system never did that. Long before I did, they realized that my years in college may not be easy for me, and that was okay, because on the other side of it I would be a better human and would be so much stronger from it.”
To her teammates, the Wilmington, Delaware native says: “I hope that whenever you take the field, you remember just how important you are – how truly valuable you are by simply being you. Just as a living body needs every unique part to survive, your team needs every single individual functioning at their best in order to achieve greatness. Your skills are important, but so are your voice and your heart.”
“There is something inside of you that you bring to this team that nobody else can. Find it. Own it. Never lose sight of who you are, no matter what the scoreboard may say at the end of the day. My hope for you is that you never lose sight of how truly valuable you are, even on your hardest days, your worst slump, or in the tough loss. At the end of the day, what is truly important is who you are, not what you do. Strive for greatness. Push yourself to be your best and don’t settle. But don’t lose yourself in the pursuit. Your best is all anybody could ever ask for and that’s enough – it’s always been enough.”
Classmate Tori Zangrilli said, “Arcadia Athletics gave me a family and a purpose. It helped me grow as an athlete and a person in the last four years. The closeness of everyone in the Athletics department and the relationships the teams have is what really makes Arcadia Athletics unique.”
Zangrilli appeared in 109 games for the Scarlet and Grey, starting 96 of them. She tallied 78 hits, including 19 doubles and two home runs. She also recorded 38 RBI and 35 runs scored. Defensively, Zangrilli had 39 putots from the outfield. The History major was also named to the ECAC President’s Honor Roll her freshman season.
The Robbinsville, New Jersey native said, “The biggest lesson I’ve learned in the last four years is to not take anything for granted. To my teammates, thank you for everything. Thank you for giving me lifelong friends I can always count on. To my coaches, thank you for pushing me throughout the years. You’ve really helped me grow as an athlete, but more importantly as a person.”
“To the program, keep growing. Don’t stop moving forward from here. Make each better than the last like we did. Spend time with your teammates and don’t take anything for granted. Before you know it, it’ll all be over – things end faster than you think.”
Julia Gessner made 30 appearances for the Knights with 23 starts over the course of her career. The Hillsborough, New Jersey native recorded 40 hits, including 11 doubles and three home runs. She also registered 28 RBI and 14 runs. A Biology major on the Pre-Physical Therapy track, Gessner was on the ECAC President’s Honor Roll and the MAC Honor Roll.
When asked about what Arcadia Athletics has meant to her in the last four years, senior outfielder Ashley Eckett said, “It has shaped me in ways I didn’t know possible. From the staff to my peers, I have learned so much about myself. I’ve found my forever friends on the softball team. Having friends on my team has never come easily for me since I’m so competitive and head strong, and I can sometimes be taken the wrong way. But this team… This team is different. They have seen me for the leader that I always felt I had in me somewhere. They supported me and helped me flourish into my leadership role. They gave me the confidence I needed to become the person I am today. Not only my team, but the support of my coaches, Todd, and Danielle have helped me along the way.”
Eckett said the atmosphere of Arcadia Athletics is unique because of the “one team” mentality.
“No matter what team you were on, you knew you were supported by the others. We would go to each others’ games, be happy for other teams’ wins, and be there even for the losses. We all knew what it felt like to win that big game, but we also knew what the painful losses felt like. Having not only your team’s support, but the entire athletic department’s support I think is what really helped our program grow over the last four years,” said Eckett.
The Jackson, New Jersey native appeared in 71 games with 61 starts over her career at Arcadia. She recorded 29 hits, including three doubles and three home runs. She also tallied 19 RBI and 29 runs scored, with a 98.5% fielding percentage from the outfield. In addition to performing on the field, Eckett was also strong in the classroom. The Psychology/Pre-Physical Therapy major was named to the ECAC President’s Honor Roll and the MAC Honor Roll.
When asked what the biggest lesson she’s learned at Arcadia was, she replied with one word: Selflessness.
“Coming in freshman year, I had never sat the bench before. Being on a serious collegiate team made me come to grips with sitting the bench. I was crushed at first and thought it was unfair. With the help and support of my team, I realized that there was no point in being frustrated about it and to accept my role on the team for that year. I learned that my loud voice and positive energy could do things, even if it wasn’t on the field. It was a very hard lesson to learn, but I truly think it made me a better person and captain.”
To the program moving forward, Eckett says, “Don’t let it end here. Don’t let all of our hard work flush away. Stay strong, stay loud, and stay together. Build on what we have worked so hard to make.”
“Enjoy every moment. Every time you tie your cleats, hang your helmet, smell the grass, and slap your teammate’s hand. Cherish it. Remember it. Hold on to it with all you’ve got, because it can be taken away at any moment. I am so deeply saddened that this is how it had to end. But I’m trying to hold on to what I was able to experience, and how lucky I am to have even been given that.”
When asked what she wanted to say to her teammates, Eckett said, “So many things. I’m sorry. I love you. I need more time. I don’t want it to end. Thank you. I’m sorry it had to end like this.”
“I’m sorry to the freshman who missed out on what we were all so highly talking about. I’m sorry to the sophomores who were finally getting into the groove of not being a freshman anymore and owning their leadership roles. I’m sorry to the juniors, who are now forced to be seniors so much sooner than they wanted. And above all, I’m sorry to the other seniors who have lost what we all so dearly wanted and looked forward to. We worked for four years to get to this point, and it was all taken away from us so abruptly. So cleanly. So easily… without a second to think. To all of you, I love you all. I’m happy to have all of you in my life and I can’t wait to be forever friends.”
“I feel I’m in a dream and soon I will wake up and everything will be fine. I just need more time with my friends, and I really don’t want this story to end just yet. But with all that aside, thank you to my teammates for making me the person I am today, for believing in me, supporting me, and being amazing people and friends.”
In terms of the legacy she hopes to leave behind, Eckett explained the impact of the culture the seniors played a pivotal role in building.
“The other seniors and I have built a culture of the Arcadia Softball team. We have made accountability a key part of our team. Be on time, be present, and give it all you got. If you don’t follow in that standard, don’t be there. This atmosphere is what built us up to today. We are a close knit team that supports each other until the end. Trust is another factor we’ve built. We have the confidence in each other that other teams can only dream of.”
“I knew when Kylee or MP got on the mound, we were going to rack up the K’s. I knew when Tori or Julia were up to bat, we would have a quality at bat. I knew if someone threw the ball in the ground, Hunter or Bekah were scooping it. I had confidence in my teammates to get the job done, and that trust was contagious. As we got older, each class following had that same trust. Here we are, four years later, with a team full of trust and confidence – and I truly think it was our class that built that.”
If she could step on the field one more time and change one thing, Eckett said she would change her appreciation.
“I took for granted the time I had on Blankley Field. I knew this day would come where I wasn’t playing, but I didn’t think it would come so soon. I hadn’t prepared for my last day playing. If I were given the change again, I would take it all in. The feel of the grass on my cleats. The sound of the wind through the trees. The feeling of the fence as I hit it. The smell of the dirt. The feeling of the ball hitting my glove. The sound of my teammates cheering. The feeling of the ball hitting the sweet spot of the bat. The taste of the dirt as I slide head-first into second base. The feeling of winning a game… together, as a team.”
Senior first baseman Hunter Schantz transferred into Arcadia her sophomore year. She said, “Arcadia Athletics meant everything in the past three years. I’m actually really sad that I didn’t originally decide to come to Arcadia. However, they welcomed me with love and open arms, and that has never changed. I found my second family here at Arcadia. From the coaches to the trainers and my teammates, everyone creates this loving, competitive culture. This culture has made me into the woman I am today.”
“I would say the athletes the coaches pick make the culture at Arcadia. They pick the people they know will put in the work and who will be team players. Every person has their own personality and talent, and we all blend perfectly and create this undeniably unique atmosphere. We all buy in to what our coaches say, and we believe that they will lead us to success. We all respect each other, and every sport supports one another – it’s like a family here.”
During her time at Arcadia, Schantz played in 88 games with 84 starts. She tallied 81 hits with 13 doubles and 12 home runs. She also recorded 69 RBI and 29 runs scored for the Knights.
The biggest lesson she says she learned while at Arcadia was to be a hard worker.
“I learned that nothing is given and everything has to be earned. Coming in sophomore year, our team made it all the way to the final round of the MAC Championship, and we sadly came in second place. That pushed me and my team to work even harder for the next season. We then not only won the MAC Championship, but we made it to the Regional Final. We learned that we must work harder than everyone else if we want to have the season we deserve.”
To her teammates, the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania native says, “You mean the world to me, every single one of you. To the freshmen, cherish every moment, because senior year comes quicker than you think. Reach out if you need help and just soak everything in. Sophomores, you are also just starting your careers here. Keep learning and growing, go and try and take those starters’ spots. Juniors, you are now the leaders of the team. Lead them, push them, challenge them, and support them. You know what every other grade has gone through, and you all have been in their shoes before. Go be the best leaders and players out there, next year will be your year to shine. Lastly – go get that MAC Championship again.”
To her coaches, Schantz says, “You have all changed my life for the better. You have not only improved my game, but you’ve also helped me become a better person. I wish we could have seen how this year was going to end, I think it would have been the most memorable one yet. Thank you for taking the risk of welcoming me on to the team. I know it was scary for you just letting a player walk on and not know much about them. So thank you for allowing me to play, but also being able to spend my last years playing with my best friends.”
“I want to tell any player that comes into our program that you have to put in the effort. You have to be present and give it your all – every practice, every lift, every game. Leave no doubt.”
Fellow Bethlehem, Pennsylvania native Kylee Schwind recorded a 1.91 ERA with a 44-22 record over her time in the Scarlet and Grey. Over 430.2 innings of work, she totaled 305 strikeouts and only 139 walks. Schwind consistently kept opponents’ batting averages in the low .200’s. Her freshman campaign, she was named both the MAC Commonwealth Pitcher of the Year and the ECAC Division III South Pitcher of the Year. She was also named to the All-MAC Commonwealth Fist Team her rookie season, while earning All-MAC Commonwealth Honorable Mention laurels her sophomore year.
The last senior to round out the 2020 graduating class, Mary Pat Murray said that the impact Arcadia Athletics has had on her in the last four years has transcended from being on the field.
“The true value of Arcadia Athletics, to me, is the people you’re surrounded with. From your own coaching staff and teammates to other coaches, staff members, and student-athletes, everyone is there to support each other and motivate each other to get better. They aren’t only there for you on the field, but they’re there to help you grow off the field. I’ve gained some incredible mentors in the Athletics department over the past four years, and I’m so incredibly grateful for their impact on my life.”
“Arcadia Athletics truly means family. From the moment I stepped on campus, I could see the support and camaraderie that was transparent through all the teams on campus. Whether it was in conditioning at 7am running ladders on the track in the gym, or if it was cheering each other on at games, you could always count on student-athletes from other teams to push you and motivate you. In addition to that, the staff in the department is truly there for the right reason – to help you grow and have the best experience possible. It’s such a unique atmosphere, and it’s so empowering to know that you have the support of not only your program, but every team at the University. We have a banner in the gym that says ’26 sports, 1 team’ – at first it didn’t make sense to me, but after these four years, it makes perfect sense.”
Murray, a Bellmawr, New Jersey native, amassed a 1.82 ERA with a 36-17 record during her career at Arcadia. Over 390.1 innings of work, she tallied 236 strikeouts to only 47 walks allowed. Murray was not only a pitcher for the Knights, but also played infield and was a threat on the other side of the ball as well. She recorded a career .305 batting average with 59 hits, including 16 doubles and 4 home runs. She also registered 41 RBI and 31 runs.
Her freshman year, Murray was named to the All-MAC Commonwealth Second Team. During her sophomore season, she was named to the all-MAC Commonwealth First Team. As she helped lead the program to a historic season her junior year, she was named MAC Commonwealth Pitcher of the Year and made the All-MAC Commonwealth First Team. In addition, she was named NFCA First Team All-Region and made the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament Ewing Regional All-Tournament team.
Academically, the Global Media major was named an NFCA All-America Scholar Athlete. She was also named to the Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area team, as well as Academic All-MAC and Google Cloud Academic All-District First Team. She was also named to the MAC Honor Roll and the ECAC Academic Honor Roll.
When reflecting on the biggest lesson she’s learned over the last four years, Murray said, “I’ve learned what grit and perseverance truly mean. I’ve learned how to be resilient in the face of adversity. Most importantly, I’ve learned to not be afraid to be a strong female in whatever I do, and to empower other females around me.”
“My career has been full of adversity, sometimes unseen to my teammates. Throughout my entire career at Arcadia, I’ve battled hip injuries and issues which began half way through my freshman season. My sophomore year I made the decision to forego surgery and play the season, scheduling surgery for after. I went through my hip surgery and recovery, and after working hard to be cleared my junior year, I aggravated my hip again during preseason. It was worlds better than the past two years and could still play, but it was still bugging me. I was constantly in the training room making sure that I was taking care of my hip and recovering properly.”
“Being in physical pain from hitting my sophomore and junior years was tough for me, as I loved being able to step up to the plate and contribute for our team. But it made me truly place my trust in my team and our offense to have my back. I was forced to surrender control and only focus on controlling what I could – that turned contributing physically on offense to contributing mentally by motivating my teammates and trying to pick things from the pitchers. Your role may change on the team, but no matter what it is, it’s just as important as the girl next to you.”
Murray said, “Coach has always placed a huge emphasis on empowering us to be the next generation of female leaders who impact our society. As someone who wants to enter the college athletic administration field, which is mainly a male-dominated field, this lesson was very important to me. I’ll never forget the power pose circles before games, or our empowerment pep talk my junior year before leaving for MACs.”
To her teammates, she says: “Thank you. Thank you for welcoming me with open arms and for supporting me through everything. You’ve all played a role in shaping me into who I am today, and I can’t thank you enough for that. I’m disappointed we didn’t have the opportunity to play this year and have so many of those incredible moments as a team, but know that, no matter what, I’m always going to be your biggest fan. Continue to drive this program forward onto the national stage, and continue to strive to be better. Always value each other and encourage each other, no matter what your role.”
“Leave No Doubt has a whole new meaning now – never take a practice or game for granted, because it can be taken away from you when you least expect it. I wish I had taken more time to take everything in. Most of you know that I’m so competitive it’s borderline unhealthy, but you guys took me for what I was and allowed me to express my emotions and my competitive spirit, and I’ll be forever thankful for that. I only wish that I had been able to split my competitiveness and my encouragement for you all earlier in my career. No matter what, know that I always had confidence in every single one of you. You’re all capable of greatness.”
“Next year, fight for us, the ones who didn’t have a chance to finish our careers with our Arcadia family. Keep us in the back of your head, and never take a moment with your teammates for granted. Don’t catch yourself going through the motions and your routines – cherish every second of it. Know that the struggle and the victories will shape you in ways you couldn’t imagine. And know that selflessness, putting your teammates and this program first, is what truly paves the path to success.”
To her coaches, Murray says: “From my freshman year to now, I’ve grown exponentially, and so much of that is thanks to you. You didn’t coddle me or hold my hand through my experiences – you let me figure it out (FIO) and that has truly helped me mature and grow. You’ve always been real with me, and you’ve always been there to support me through everything, both on and off the field. Being surrounded with so many powerful females on the staff has been a real blessing, and I’m so thankful for the impact you’ve had on me both on and off the field. I’ll never forget how impactful a simple ‘I love you’ before every game was.”
Coach Colletti said, “I think Arcadia will miss the dedication of the class of 2020. They were very loyal to the University, always ready to volunteer for something the athletic department or school needed. These students were always seen around the Kuch Center and constantly respectful to other coaches and staff members. The dependability of this class will always stand out to me, I could always count on them to complete any task or request of myself or the Athletic Department.”
“I’m incredibly sad for the class of 2020. No student-athlete deserves to have their season taken away from them due to these circumstances, especially these seven women. I’d like to say thank you to MP, Hunter, Kylee, Tori, Bekah, Julia and Ashley for trusting me and believing in me to be their coach.”
Colletti said, “I’m grateful for their dedication, work ethic, and commitment to the program. I hope the girls know that, as sad as this feeling is right now, this feeling will pass and you need to be proud of the women you have become and proud of how prepared you are to go attack whatever is next for you. I love you all.”