Softball adds three players for the 2010 season
Head Coach Amanda Lehotak and the Dolphins add Morgan Kibler, Olivia Kline and Sarah Simon for the 2010 season
Head Coach Amanda Lehotak and the Dolphins add Morgan Kibler, Olivia Kline and Sarah Simon for the 2010 season
After having the most successful fall season in school history, the JU softball team continues to improve its roster as the Dolphins add three players during early signing period for the 2010 season.

The JU coaching staff announced the signing Morgan Kibler (Marietta, Pa.), Olivia Kline (Trinity, Fla.) and Sarah Simon (New Port Richey, Fla.) who are each in their senior season and will enroll at JU as freshman.

“We are pleased to sign these three student-athletes,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “They all are quality players and people. We look forward to them contributing right away and helping us improve as a whole. Coach (Ali) Higgs and I feel this is another strong class that will help our program get to our ultimate goal of being in the top tier of our conference.”

Kibler has guided Donegal High School to three consecutive 20-win seasons on the diamond, including a Pennsylvania State 3A Championship as a freshman. Last season, she batted .491 to help the Indians win the Lancaster/Lebanon League Section 3 Championship and later secure a berth in the Pennsylvania State 3A semifinals. She was also named first team Lancaster Newspapers all-league as a junior and has earned Lancaster/Lebanon league all-star in her first two seasons. Off the diamond, Kibler is a standout in field hockey as well as basketball.

“Morgan is an all-around athlete,” said Lehotak. “She is fast, athletic, has great hand eye coordination and a natural sense for the game. We look for her to bring depth to the team and to fight for a position in the outfield.”

Kline, a pitcher and outfielder at James W. Mitchell High School, has led the Mustangs to two conference championships and a district title in three short seasons. At the plate, she batted more than .470 driven in 46 RBI in a season on two occasions and set the single-season home run record as a freshman with nine long balls. In the circle, she posted a 1.76 ERA as a junior last season. Along the way, she has earned first team all-conference and all-country honors as well as all-state sports writers’ team accolades.

“Olivia brings a different look to our current pitching staff,” Lehotak said. “Her velocity, combined with the command she has over her pitches, will make her effective immediately in our program. She is also a great hitter who will add some much needed power to our line-up.”

Simon, a catcher at River Ridge High School, led the state of Florida with 48 RBI in 2008. She batted .514 at the plate and posted a .993 fielding percentage for the Knights en route to earning all-county, all-North Sun Coast and Sunshine Athletic all-conference honors. She was also a standout in the classroom by earning Sunshine Athletic Conference all-academic team accolades. As a sophomore, Simon hit .457 with 22 RBI to be named to the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune all-county teams.

“Sarah brings a huge bat and a strong demeanor behind the plate,” said Lehotak “We will look to her and Olivia as a unit, to bring an added synergy to our team. We expect her to come in with strong leadership skills as a freshman and be a huge asset to the team.”

The Dolphins enter the 2009 season returning 13 players from last season’s squad that had a six-win improvement against teams like Florida State, Minnesota and Georgia Southern. In the fall, the Dolphins continued its upward swing with the program’s first flawless preseason season with an 8-0 mark.

They finished the fall hitting .312 (69-221) with 42 runs scored, 28 RBI and 17 doubles. In the circle, JU posted a 1.60 ERA in 57 innings of work with 46 strikeouts and had four complete-game efforts.

The Dolphins will open the 2009 season on Feb. 6 against Auburn at the FIU Combat Classic in Miami, Fla. First pitch set for 10 a.m.