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UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

UMass men’s basketball finishes non-conference schedule strong with win over Georgia State -

December 28, 2016

Brett Boeing joins UMass hockey for second half of season -

December 28, 2016

Matthew impressing Maroon and White staff

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Since becoming a starter this season for the Massachusetts softball team, sophomore outfielder Cyndil Matthew has done much to impress her teammates and coaches.

In addition to playing volleyball and basketball for Westfield High School in N.J., Matthew excelled mostly on the softball diamond, where she set records for highest batting average (.642), most doubles in a season (11), most career hits (130) and home runs in a season (20).

Matthew batted primarily right-handed in high school, which has changed ever since putting on an UMass uniform. Matthew now bats left-handed and is primarily a slap hitter, an approach meant to utilize her speed by putting the ball in play and pressuring the defense.

“When she got here we knew that we were going to need her speed,” said UMass assistant coach Kristi Stefanoni. “She is fastest [down the line] from the left side so when she got here it was all slapping. As long as she runs like that, she’ll be left-handed forever.”

Typically, a speedy contact hitter would be placed in the leadoff spot of the lineup. Matthew, however, bats in the nine spot.

Matthew and leadoff hitter Kyllie Magill are responsible for 30 of UMass’ 114 runs as well as 16-of -44 steals. Magill is 7-for-8 in stolen base attempts while Matthew is 9-for-9.

“She’s like our second leadoff [hitter],” said Stefanoni. “She’s someone we can depend on to get on base and use her speed and then have the heart of the order… [come up] to drive Cyndil in.”

Much like the rest of the Minutewomen, Matthew struggled at the plate to start the season. However, Matthew has raised her average from .203 to .247 while scoring six runs and stealing three bases over UMass’ last 10 games, in which the Minutewomen are 9-1 over that span. With continued starting experience, Stefanoni expects her development to continue.

“She has [developed] so much; she has become a triple threat,” said Stefanoni. “When she first got here, it was tough for her with slapping and trying to learn the difference between a softer slap and harder slap and a bunt because the defense is so much better at this level and she has to be able to read what the defense is doing.”

Since adopting her new approach, Matthew has studied and tried to replicate professional softball players. Perhaps the best player to emulate is Natasha Watley, a current member of the USA’s Softball Women’s National Team and a world-renowned slap hitter. Unsurprisingly, Watley is Matthew’s favorite player.

“We have her look at Watley as much as she possibly can,” Stefanoni said. “She’s done her own research, she’s Youtube’d videos.”

Matthew’s speed is what sets her apart from other players. In order to utilize that speed, however, she has to get on base. The Minutewomen would like to see her on base percentage increase, as it currently sits at .319.
Even with her speed, Matthew will have to wait for the green light from UMass head coach Elaine Sortino.

“It’s different from baseball [where] there’s a bigger lead,” said Sortino. “I do think that there are green light conditions that can result at the plate with a mishandle or a bobble that she knows [she can go]. A straight steal, though, I wouldn’t be too happy because it’s too easy to get doubled up.”

Steve Levine can be reached at slevine@student.umass.edu.

Comments
2 Responses to “Matthew impressing Maroon and White staff”
  1. Lenny Cathcart says:

    Thanks for the article on this young lady. I loved to watch her play in High School and lad to see she is doing good with UMASS. However, can you please get an updated picyure of her?

  2. Having read this I believed it was very informative. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this information together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

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