Eight GNAC Softball Student-Athletes Earn NFCA All-Region Accolades



The Suffolk softball dynamic duo of Jill Pulek and Delaney Sylvester (pictured) garnered more yearly accolades as the sophomore and junior earned spots on the NFCA All-Northeast First Team, the organization announced Monday afternoon. The pair is the first Rams in the program's 33-year history to garner first-team all-region accolades in the same season. 

The two were among eight from the Great Northeast Athletic Conference to earn NFCA All-Region honors. From GNAC champion Johnson & Wales University, garnering Second-Team accolades were first baseman Emily Gorecki, pitcher Jennifer Corona and utility player Katie Rufo. Getting the nod to the Third-Team was outfielder Kristin Frost and shortstop Brenna DuPerry. Albertus Magnus College junior and conference Player of the Year Gillian Fortier rounded out the GNAC selections, earning Second Team honors for the second time in her career. 

Pulek found herself on the region first team for the second season, marking the first-time a Ram earned back-to-back first-team All-NFCA honors since Erin McAndrews did in 2013 and 2014. Pulek, who calls Cheshire, Connecticut, home, had yet another powerful plate performance in 2017, putting together an impressive stat line of .384/.424/.715. The 5-foot-3 righty recorded 58, hits, 17 doubles and 11 over the fence, for 108 total bases, driving in 44 runs and scoring 31 herself. 

Sylvester, meanwhile, has been a consistent name on the all-region list since her freshman campaign and earned her first first-team accolade this year as a junior. The Worcester, Massachusetts, native, strung together a .421 average (46-145) on the season, producing 11 doubles and 10 dingers. The two-time GNAC Corvias Player of the Week was in all of Suffolk's starting lineups behind the dish, bringing in 39 runs, scoring 26 and held a near perfect fielding percentage of .922. Her standup junior year featured the Rams' first-ever Lousiville Slugger/NFCA DIII National Player of the Week May 3 thanks to a 7-0 week in which Sylvester hit .715 with eight runs scored, four walks, two doubles, three homers and 10 RBI. Her stellar offense, which featured 1.998 OPS, transferred to errorless defense of 31 putouts and one assist at catcher. 

Pulek and Sylvester helped Suffolk surprise the conference championship field with a 3-2 triumph over the tournament's top seed and regular season champion Johnson & Wales to force a winner's take all game. In the end, the Rams fell, 15-5, to end Suffolk's season at 29-17.  

For Gorecki, it's the second All-Region selection for perhaps the best offensive player in school history. A four-time All-GNAC honoree, she finished her career as the Wildcats' all-time leader in batting average (.427), hits (215), runs (115), home runs (29) and RBIs (174). Gorecki won the GNAC Triple Crown for the second year in a row while ranking amongst the national leaders in home runs, batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.

Corona also picks up her second All-Region accolade after earning Third-Team her freshman year. The GNAC Pitcher of the Year, she threw a perfect game against Anna Maria on March 25. Corona was the conference leader with 19 wins – placing her 19th in the country - and ranked second in strikeouts (151) and earned run average (2.11).

A transfer from Elon University, Rufo added more power to the JWU lineup. Named First-Team All-GNAC, she finished the year with five home runs and 27 RBIs – ranking her in the league's top 20 in both categories – while batting .360. Rufo's three home runs against Lasell are tied for the single-game high in the NCAA this season.

Whereas some freshmen have a great start then fizzle out towards the end of the season, Frost was a consistent performer all year long. Honored with GNAC Rookie of the Year, she ranked in the GNAC top 10 for batting average (.403), runs (37), hits (54), RBIs (44), stolen bases (15), on-base percentage (.459) and slugging percentage (.642). Frost went 4-for-7 at the NCAA regional to earn all-tournament honors.

DuPerry joins Gorecki on the All-Region team for the second year in a row after a Third-Team selection as a rookie. DuPerry is among the national leaders with 48 runs scored, the second-highest single-season total in school history. She ranked fourth in the conference for both doubles and triples while hitting .371 in the leadoff spot.  

Fortier enjoyed a standout junior campaign that saw career-highs in seven different statistical categories. The junior batted .441 with a career-best 67 hits including 28 extra-base hits on a career-high 15 doubles, two triples and a career-best 11 home runs. She belted a league-high 52 RBI and 58 runs scored as well as recorded a career-high on-base percentage of .500. She also recorded her 100th career run earlier this season at Johnson & Wales and this past weekend picked up 100th career RBI against Norwich in the GNAC Tournament.

The Albertus Magnus College softball team finished the 2017 season with a 30-15 overall record and earned the No. 4 seed in the GNAC Tournament after posting a 15-7 mark in league play. The Falcons saw their season come to an end with a 9-2 setback versus Suffolk in the double elimination portion of the GNAC Tournament.

Information Provided by Suffolk, JWU, Albertus Magnus Athletics Communications.