Nov. 14, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame softball head coach Deanna Gumpf recently announced that four prep student-athletes have signed a National Letter of Intent to continue their academic and athletic careers at the University beginning in the fall of 2012.
Casey Africano (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Micaela Arizmendi (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Allison Rhodes (Kirkland, Wash.) and Megan Sorlie (Wichita, Kan.) represent the four-person signing class that will be eligible to compete with the Irish during the 2013 spring season.
"This class truly represents what Notre Dame softball is all about," Gumpf said. "Though they are all very talented and accomplished, they each share a commitment to academics and athletics. We look forward to seeing them succeed as student-athletes at the University while leaving their mark on this program in a memorable fashion."
Notre Dame, the 2011 BIG EAST regular season champions, finished last season with a 46-11 overall record and made a 13th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. The squad returns 13 Monogram winners from 2011 for the upcoming campaign.
Casey Africano C 5-5 R / R Edison Huntington Beach, Calif.
The Africano File: Played behind the dish and in the outfield for Edison (Calif.) while spending her summers at the club level with the Worth Firecrackers ... Edison was undefeated and won the Sunset League crown during her freshman season ... named all-conference and all-city as a freshman and junior ... team captain as a senior ... guided Edison to the Las Vegas Spring Break Tournament title as a junior ... full name is Casey Ann Africano ... born June 15, 1994, in Mission Viejo, Calif. ... daughter of Marc and Michelle Africano ... uncle, Greg Svitenko, played football at Long Beach ... has one younger brother, Colton ... involved with Fellowship of Christian Athletes and show choir ... recipient of school's Pillar of Character award, Character Coalition award and Scholar-Athlete award ... hails from the same area as current Irish players Dani Miller and Lauren Stuhr.
Gumpf on Africano: "Casey plays the game with confidence, intensity, poise and maturity. She commands the field from behind the plate and has a powerful and explosive bat. We feel confident that all of these qualities will lead to a successful career for her here at Notre Dame."
Micaela Arizmendi 1B / OF 5-5 L / L Mater Dei Huntington Beach, Calif.
The Arizmendi File: A two-time all-conference choice while prepping at Mater Dei (Calif.) ... competed on the travel circuit with the California Angels ... led Angels to the 2011 ASA 18-under Champions Cup title, while also winning the same event in 2009 in the 16-under division ... missed the bulk of her junior season with an injury but managed to hit .423 in 15 games with 13 RBI ... first team all-Trinity League choice in 2010 while Mater Dei claimed the league title ... named team's defensive MVP as a sophomore ... first team all-league selection a freshman ... also earned team's "Clutch Hitter" award after Mater Dei won the Trinity League trophy in 2009 ... follows the footsteps that Mater Dei graduate and Irish All-American third baseman Heather Johnson ('11) took to the Golden Dome ... Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte also prepped at Mater Dei ... born July 26, 1994, in Long Beach, Calif. ... full name is Micaela Christine Arizmendi ... daughter of Marie O'Beck, who played softball at Long Beach ... member of the National Honor Society, California Scholarship Federation, campus ministry and Renaissance Club ... hails from the same area of current Irish players Dani Miller and Lauren Stuhr.
Gumpf on Arizmendi: "Being a left-handed power hitter who possesses a wicked short game is one thing that drew our attention to Micaela throughout the recruiting process. Defensively, she is solid both in the infield and the outfield. Micaela is one of the most fundamental and best-trained athletes in her class."
Allison Rhodes Pitcher 5-8 L / L Juanita Kirkland, Wash.
The Rhodes File: Pitched for three seasons at Juanita (Wash.) at the prep level while also playing for the California Cruisers on the club circuit ... guided Juanita to a pair of sectional titles and the 3A state crown as a junior ... pitched in each game during that state title run ... two-time all-conference and high school team MVP ... undefeated as a junior while leading her squad to a league crown ... team captain as a senior ... only the second left-handed pitcher to play for the Irish, joining fellow southpaw and two-time All-American Jennifer Sharron ('01) ... Kelly Nichols (1995-98) and Nicole Wicks (2004-05) are the only other two Irish players to hail from the state of Washington ... daughter of Renee and Brad Rhodes ... born Jan. 26, 1994, in St. Louis, Mo. ... full name is Allison Christine Rhodes ... has one younger brother, Nick ... volunteered with Kirkland National Little League while coaching youth softball players.
Gumpf on Rhodes: "Allison is a tremendous pitcher with a nasty change-up and great movement. She's very knowledgeable from the circle and understands how to attack a hitter's weakness. We're excited for her to come into the program and make some noise."
Megan Sorlie OF 5-8 L / L Andover Central Wichita, Kan.
The Sorlie File: Four-year softball standout for Andover Central (Kan.) under head coach Rita Frakes ... three-time all-conference selection ... named all-state, all-county, all-region, all-city and team captain as a junior ... led Andover Central to a regional title in 2011 ... hit .543 with four bombs while getting on-base at a .614 rate ... posted a 1.014 slugging pct. as a junior ... 2011 Wendy's Heisman Trophy Winner ... the fourth Kansas native to don the blue and gold for the Irish behind Tara King (1997-98), Jenna Knudson (1993-96) and Jarrah Myers (1992-2002) ... full name is Megan Li Sorlie ... born Feb. 16, 1994, in Hong Kong, China ... daughter of Jim and Teresa Sorlie ... has two younger brothers, Colton and Matthew ... grandfather, Richard Clarkson, played football at Cal State Fullerton ... involved in Young Life, National Honors Society, Friends of Rachel and Habitat for Humanity.
Gumpf on Sorlie: "We'll certainly be a better team with Megan's power in the outfield and her all-around speed. She has all of the tools to make a huge impact right away. Megan is a dynamic athlete and a true offensive threat from the left side of the plate."