By: Meaghan McNichol – Staff Writer
University of Dayton’s softball team is not only working towards a successful 2018 season, but is also building a foundation of success for the seasons to come.
Earlier this week, head coach Cara LaPlaca announced the signing of four players who will join the team in 2018.
LaPlaca is excited to welcome Alyssa Cacini (Arlington Heights, Il./Prospect), Megan Gist (Modesto Calif./Central Catholic), Catherine Jensen (Larkspur, Calif./Redwood), and Lillie Knesel (Ballwin, Mo./Marquette HS) to the Flyer family next fall.
“I’ve been impressed by the unique combination of speed, power and “softball IQ” that this class demonstrates,” LaPlaca said. “However, I am more impressed by the quality of their collective character and team-first, selfless approach.”
It’s official! Thank you to all who have helped me on my journey to this point in my life😊💙❤️go flyers!!! pic.twitter.com/CCXzoBZgRV
— Alyssa Cacini (@acacini27) November 8, 2017
Cacini has an impressive track record as an infielder at Prospect High School in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. She also plays club softball with New Lenox Lightning Gold team.
Not only did Cacini spend four seasons on varsity, but she was also named to the Mid Suburban League All-Area Team in 2015 and to the MSL All-Area Honorable Mention roster in 2016. Cacini tied a record during her sophomore season at Prospect, with 47 RBI in a season.
Jensen is a pitcher at Redwood High School in Larkspur, California. She also plays club ball with All American Sports Academy.
In her high school career, Jensen has earned a Marin County Athletic League Championship title and made an appearance in the North Coast Sectional in 2017.
This past season, Jensen received a MCAL All-Conference Honor Mention and was named the team’s Most Inspirational Player in both 2016 and 2017.
Megan Gist was recruited as an infielder, a position she has played at Central Catholic High School in Modesto, California for the last three seasons. Gist plays club ball for All American Sports Academy as well.
Gist has had a successful high school career, being a three time Valley Oak League Scholar Athlete and Central Catholic Golden Scholar Athlete.
She has also been honored with VOL Second Team All-Conference considerations in 2016 and 2017. As a freshman, Gist earned an Honor Mention nod from the league.
Extremely happy to announce that I’ve committed to continue playing softball for The University of Dayton!! GO FLYERS❤️💙 pic.twitter.com/yrFUPo9iZ2
— Lillie Knesel (@KneselKnesel) February 22, 2017
Knesel from Chesterfield, Missouri, plays middle infielder/outfielder at Marquette High School and plays club ball with the St. Louis Chaos Gold team.
This past season, Knesel was part of Marquette’s Missouri Class 4A State Championship. She also holds various career and single-season records.
Knesel has seen success in the classroom and on the field, earning three All-State accolades and three All-Conference, All-District, and All-Region First Team honors.
While the 2019 season may seem far off, it’s never too early to formulate a plan for success.
Photo Courtesy of Dayton Athletics Communications