LA PLUME — Since 1993, the coaching of Lisa Gigliello and the great success of the King’s College softball program have gone hand-in-hand.
After 20 seasons, the head coach reached a prestigious milestone, as the Monarchs won their 499th and 500th games during Gigliello’s reign with 15-4 and 8-0 victories in five innings over Keystone College on Tuesday in a doubleheader at Edmunds Field.
“The 500 wins means we’ve been consistent,” Gigliello said. “We didn’t just have a couple good years. We’ve had a lot of good years.”
In 1994, Lisa Gigliello took over as the Monarchs’ coach and transformed King’s into one of the premiere softball programs in the area by the turn of the century.
“It was a combination of getting more good players and getting them to believe they could win,” Gigliello said. “We spent a lot of time on the fundamentals to make them a solid team and then the wins just kept coming.”
After winning just four games in 1993, the Lady Monarchs doubled their win total behind the leadership of Gigliello. In her third season, Gigliello coached the Monarchs to the playoffs for the first time in school history in 1996.
The next season, King’s recorded its first 20-win season in school history. In 1999, King’s earned its first conference title, winning the Eastern College Athletic Conference Southern Region championship.
The Monarchs followed that with their first NCAA Division III Tournament bid in school history in 2000, which became a common occurrence for the next 12 years.
“I attribute it to the great coaches I’ve gotten to work with over the years, and still do, and the excellent student athletes that have come through here,” Gigliello said.
“They made it all possible. They’re why we’re here every day.”
Gigliello also earned the first of her three MAC Freedom Coach of the Year awards that season.
In 2005, the Monarchs won their sixth straight MAC Freedom championship and came within one game of the College World Series.
The program sustained its success over the last decade-plus, winning 10 Freedom Conference championships and earning 11 NCAA Tournament bids since 2000.
“We always try and approach it as a team sport,” Gigliello said. “We’ve had a lot of great players come through but we’ve had a lot of solid teams and that’s what has enabled us to win.”
King’s junior catcher Amanda Cardone said she wouldn’t want to play for anyone else.
“I’ve been around King’s for a while with camps, and I just knew through a lot of people that she was really successful and that was one of the main reasons I wanted to be here,” said Cardone, a Nanticoke High grad.
“I didn’t want to be on the opposing side. I wanted to play for her and win games for her.”
Cardone, who belted a two-run homer in the opener and the go-ahead RBI double in game two, also said Gigliello is one of the most respected people in the sport in the area — and gives her most of the credit for the program’s success.
“It’s always positive and we’re always striving to do better every game,” Cardone said. “It has been such a great experience and I love every minute of it.”
Freshman Maggie Gola, also from Nanticoke, enjoys the team atmosphere Gigliello creates.
“She’s always so happy and she’s always encouraging us to do better,” Gola said. “We work together and we’re a big family.”
Gola smashed two home runs in the doubleheader, including a three-run blast in game two that gave King’s its 8-0 cushion.
Robyn Klingerman pitched a gem in game two, allowing three hits and no runs while striking out two in five innings of work to secure Gigliello’s 500th victory.
“I love every day with these guys,” Gigliello said. “Obviously, the wins make it better but every day at practice is a good time. That’s what makes it fun.”
Wilkes swept on road
Lebanon Valley opened a big lead in game one and held on for a 7-4 win, then LVC stormed back in late innings in game two to post a 4-3 win and sweep visiting Wilkes.
Wilkes slips to 5-9 overall following the non-conference matchup.
Alex Hoops led Wilkes in the first game, going 3-for-4 with three RBI – including her second home run of the season. Emily McGrath added two hits while pitching six innings, allowing seven runs (five earned) on nine hits and striking out two.
In the second game, Wilkes took a 3-0 lead when Laykin Hughes hit an RBI double and Jordan Borger singled home another run. Another Colonels run scored on a wild pitch, but the lead did not hold up.COLLEGE MEN’S TENNISBaptist Bible 6, Misericordia 3
Tony Goodall was a double-winner for Misericordia, but the Defenders came away with the match.
Eric Correll won at six singles for the Cougars.
COLLEGE MEN’S LACROSSE
York 18, Misericordia 6
Matt Gonzalez, Kyle Calabro, Nick Santillo, Sean McGuigan and Trevor Bodnar all scored for Misericordia in a loss at home.
COLLEGE WOMEN’S LACROSSE
Lebanon Valley 18, Misericordia 2
Kate Pagnotta and Jenny Perucca had goals for Misercordia in its road loss.