Nov. 10, 2016
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame softball program completed the 2021 early signing period by inking five talented student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. The quintet is set to attend Notre Dame beginning with the fall 2017 semester.
Sarah Genz, a right-handed infielder from Lakeville, Minnesota (Homeschooled), Alexis Holloway, a right-handed pitcher from Crown Point, Indiana (Crown Point High School), Morgan Ryan, a right-handed pitcher from Greensburg, Pennsylvania (Hempfield Area High School), Abby Sweet, a right-handed outfielder/infielder from Newhall, California (Hart High School), and Riley Wester, a left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing outfielder from Huntington Beach, California (Edison High School), will officially join the Notre Dame roster prior to the 2018 softball season.
“Quite frankly, this might be one of the top recruiting classes we’ve ever had on paper,” Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf said. “They all bring extensive championship experience, they are all difference makers on their teams, these five players are the big fish in their individual programs. With the five of them working together at Notre Dame, they could make some major noise coming in here their freshman year.
“This class is really special,” Gumpf added. “I expect huge things from them from the minute they step on this campus.”
For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, visit www.und.com/softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter and at Instagram.com/notredamesoftball, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.
Sarah Genz • IF • 5-7 • R/R • Homeschooled • Lakeville, Minnesota
PREP AND PERSONAL:
· Ranked 81st in the FloSoftball 2017 Hot 100 rankings.
· Will earn second varsity letter playing for Lakeville North High School as a senior.
· Won the Silver Bat Award and was an all-conference selection in first season playing for Lakeville North as a junior, finishing the year with a .519 batting average.
· Most recently competed with Lady Lightning Gold Midwest on the club circuit, placing ninth at 2016 PGF Nationals.
· Also spent time with the Minnesota Renegades ’98 club team, and batted over. 560 with the Renegades during PGF 16U Nationals in 2015.
· National Merit semifinalist, and received the gold medal on the National Latin Exam.
· Daughter of Tom and Dani Genz and has two brothers, Jeremy and Matthew.
· Father, Tom, played hockey and tennis at U.S. International University.
· Mother, Dani, played basketball and tennis at Carleton College.
· Will become the third Minnesota resident to suit up for Notre Dame in program history (Meghan Murray, Minnetonka, 1994-97; Trish Sorenson, Spring Park, 1994).
Coach Gumpf on Sarah Genz:
“Sarah is a power-hitting corner infielder who is so athletic that she can play a number of different positions. She is a wonderful person from a wonderful family, and is a blue-collar worker. She’ll do whatever it takes to help the team. She caught last year and had never caught before, but she did so because her team needed her to. That’s the kind of person she is, she does everything really well. With her power, Sarah is someone who will really help us offensively.”
Alexis Holloway • RHP • 5-3 • R/R • Crown Point • Crown Point, Indiana
PREP AND PERSONAL:
· Ranked 2nd in the FloSoftball 2017 Hot 100 rankings (rated the nation’s top ’17 pitcher).
· Will earn fourth varsity softball letter playing for Crown Point High School as a senior.
· American Family Insurance All-USA softball honorable mention, MaxPreps Junior All-America and all-state first team selection in 2016 after posting a 13-0 record with a 0.38 ERA in 92.2 innings, striking out 176 hitters – batted .398 with 16 extra-base hits, 23 RBI and 27 runs scored.
· All-state first team choice for sectional champion Crown Point as a sophomore after compiling a 14-2 mark with a 0.49 ERA in 99.1 innings, striking out 183 batters – batted .354 with 15 extra-base hits, 21 RBI and 31 runs scored.
· Claimed all-state second team recognition for sectional and regional champion Crown Point as a freshman, logging a 4-0 record with a 0.44 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 47.1 innings – batted .476 with 10 doubles, six triples, 24 RBI, a .506 on-base percentage and 29 runs scored.
· Most recently competed with the Beverly Bandits on the club circuit, with top finishes including runner-up at 2014 PGF 16U Nationals, top 10 placements at the 2015 and 2016 PGF 18U Nationals, first place at the 2014 and 2016 DeMarini College Exposure, first place at the 2015 Independence Day Tournament, and first place at the 2016 PGF Shootout this fall.
· Member of the Honor Society and athletic council at Crown Point High School, and also earned Principal Honor Roll accolades.
· Daughter of Seth and Cheryl Holloway and has one sister, Anna.
· Will become the 18th Indiana resident to suit up for Notre Dame in program history, and the second from Crown Point (Angie Grimmer, 1999-00).
Coach Gumpf on Alexis Holloway:
“Alexis is a pitcher who has literally dominated in her state and nationally. She has made a massive name for herself in the national picture, and has won championship after championship. She’s a leader, she’s the girl who wants the ball all the time no matter what. She will do whatever it takes for her team. Alexis knows how to win big games, and she loves to compete.”
Morgan Ryan • RHP • 5-10 • R/R • Hempfield Area • Greensburg, Pennsylvania
PREP AND PERSONAL:
· Will earn fourth varsity softball letter playing for Hempfield Area High School as a senior.
· Pennsylvania High School Softball Coaches Association and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Player of the Year in 2016 during state championship season as a junior – posted a 23-2 record with a 1.11 ERA, which included 12 shutouts and a one-hitter in the state championship game to earn first team all-state recognition.
· Batted .333 with six home runs and 30 RBI as a junior, while Hempfield Area High School was voted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sports Team of the Year.
· Compiled a 19-2 mark with a 0.98 ERA as a second team all-state selection during sophomore campaign, earning Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Player of the Year honors.
· Was a second team all-section choice as a freshman after logging a 9-3 record.
· Earned additional high school varsity letters in basketball and volleyball, which included a top eight state basketball finish as a freshman.
· Most recently competed with the Ohio Outlaws on the club circuit.
· Played for the victorious Greensburg team that won the 2014 Little League Junior Softball World Series, smashing a home run and adding five strikeouts on the mound in the championship game in Kirkland, Washington.
· Member of the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society.
· Daughter of Jeff and Shelly Ryan and has one brother, Alex, and two sisters, Madison and Peyton.
· Will be the seventh Pennsylvania resident to suit up for Notre Dame in program history, joining outfielder Bailey Bigler (Newtown) on the 2018 Irish squad.
Coach Gumpf on Morgan Ryan:
“Morgan is a true competitor, and she is definitely the leader of her team. She comes from a program that might not have been as well-known nationally, but has recently made a name for itself based on the quality of Division I players it has produced over the last few years. Morgan is a heavy ball thrower with great movement and speed. She is also a great hitter and brings power to our lineup. Morgan is a tremendous person who will make a name for herself at Notre Dame.”
Abby Sweet • OF/IF • 5-9 • R/R • Hart • Newhall, California
PREP AND PERSONAL:
· Ranked 106th in the FloSoftball 2017 Second 100 rankings.
· Four-year softball letterwinner at Hart High School.
· Named to the Los Angeles Daily News all-area honorable mention team and the CIF academic team after batting .350 as a junior, racking up three home runs, 13 doubles, 27 RBI, a .454 on-base percentage and 39 runs.
· Selected to the Cali-High Sports all-state second team and Foothill League first team during sophomore campaign, turning in a .461 batting average, 13 extra-base hits, 32 RBI, a .534 OBP and 33 runs.
· Claimed Foothill League second team accolades as a freshman by logging a .393 average, seven hits for extra bases, 11 RBI and 25 runs.
· Most recently competed with the So Cal Choppers on the club circuit, and finished in third place as a member of the Choppers at 2016 PGF Nationals.
· Was also part of the victorious Hart U10 Gold squad at 2009 ASA Nationals.
· Has earned high school honor scholar recognition.
· Daughter of Derek and Mary Beth Sweet and has one brother, Dylan, and one sister, Tenley.
· Former So Cal Choppers teammate of Notre Dame pitcher Caitlyn Brooks.
Coach Gumpf on Abby Sweet:
“Abby is an athlete. She comes from a great program that is hard-nosed, gets after it, and she really gets the job done as a hitter. She’s the kind of hitter you want in the lineup because she finds a way to get on base, and she finds a way to get things done. When big hits are needed, Abby makes it happen.”
Riley Wester • OF • 5-3 • L/R • Edison • Huntington Beach, California
PREP AND PERSONAL:
· Ranked 95th in the FloSoftball 2017 Hot 100 rankings.
· Expected to earn fourth varsity softball letter at Edison High School.
· First team all-Sunset League selection as a junior after batting .460 in the regular season with 20 stolen bases and 21 runs scored.
· Claimed a first team all-league citation as a sophomore with a .420 average, 20 RBI, seven stolen bases and 19 runs.
· As a freshman, earned all-Sunset League first team accolades after batting .446 with 11 RBI, 14 steals and 17 runs.
· Four-year varsity letterwinner in field hockey for Edison, was a three-time first team all-Sunset League recipient, and was named league MVP as a senior.
· Has received scholar-athlete award seven times while playing an in-season sport, including distinguished scholar-athlete accolades twice.
· Most recently competed with the Firecrackers Rico U18 Gold team on the club circuit, and won the 2016 PGF National Championship after finishing third at PGF Nationals in 2015.
· Daughter of Gary and Sue Wester and has two sisters, Karley and Ali.
· Father, Gary, competed in track and field at the University of Wisconsin.
· Sister, Karley, has earned two NFCA All-America scrolls at Notre Dame and was a 2015 and 2016 USA Softball National Player of the Year and 2014 NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year finalist.
· Sister, Ali, was a 2016 NFCA/Schutt Sports Division I National Freshman of the Year finalist and first team all-region selection at Notre Dame.
· The Westers are believed to be the first sister trio to each sign with the same varsity athletics program at Notre Dame.
· Along with sisters, former Notre Dame standouts Casey Africano (’16) and Dani Miller (’12) are fellow Irish Edison softball alumnae.
Coach Gumpf on Riley Wester:
“What’s great about Riley as the third of the sisters is she’s such a different player. You can’t expect her to be like the other two, she’s her own player, her own leader, she has her own voice. Riley is fiery, she is tenacious and gets after it. She is different than the other two but that’s great, and if anybody expects her to be like the older two they are mistaken. We’re really excited to have had all three sisters at Notre Dame.”
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men's soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.