On the latest edition of our D2 Revue, we chat about the Rollins Tars with members of the 2016 team Niki Fogle, Jule Kranz, and new assistant coach Brittany Johnson to talk about their postseason run and the 2017 season.
- The adjustment Brittany has made from playing to coaching
- What are Niki and Jule up to since hanging up the cleats
- What made the 2016 team so special
- What it was like to finally make it to Super Regionals
- Why is Rollins the most hated school in the Sunshine State Conference
The Coaching Staff: Michelle Frew begins her 21st season as the head of the Rollins program which is the 2nd only to Florida Southern’s Chris Bellato for tenure in the Sunshine State Conference. During her time in Winter Park, Coach Frew has amassed an impressive resume:
742 Wins (860 All-Time Career Wins)
10 NCAA Regional Bids (Including 9 in the last 10 years)
4 Sunshine State Conference Championships (2009, 2010, 2011, 2014)
3x Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year (1999, 2010, 2011)
Her staff this season will comprise of her husband Steve Frew and former All-American Brittany Johnson as her assistants.
About Last Season: The 2016 season was one that will go down as one of the most memorable in program history. Rollins faced one of the toughest schedules in the nation which included matchups with powers Valdosta State and reigning national champion North Georgia. After starting the season 4-3-1, the Tars got hot winning 29 of their next 33 games. During that stretch, historical milestones were reached with Niki Fogle picking up her 100th career victory while fellow senior Tiffany Osmanski set a new school record with a 20-game hitting streak. At the close of the year, Fogle would make more history by breaking the school record for victories in a road win at the University of Tampa.
The Tars would sweep their way through the South 2 Regional in Valdosta, Georgia which included a victories over the host Valdosta State Blazers and West Florida to advance to their first ever Super Regional round. The sweep including a walk-off victory over the host Blazers before winning 2-0 against UWF to move on where they fell two straight to eventual national champion North Alabama.
W2W4 (Who 2 Watch 4): Rollins will be paced by one of the top leadoff hitters in the region in Senior 1B Hailee Keisling. Last season, she led the Tars in Runs (44) and Walks (24) while hitting .303 en route to being named to the Sunshine State Conference First Team for the second time in her career. Keisling is on pace to join Christine Roser as the only players in school history to score 100 runs, have 100 hits, draw 100 walks, and drive in 100 runs. Anchoring the middle of the order will be another senior in CF Chelesa Reed. 2016 was a breakout season for the Lake Mary native as she led Rollins with a .350 average, 62 hits, and 15 doubles. She was also a threat on the base-paths with 23 steals in 24 chances as she was named 2nd Team All-SSC.
With the loss of nine letterwinners from 2016, look for a lot of new faces to make immediate impacts for the Tars. Two names to keep an eye for will be Chandler Middlebrook who transferred in from Florida Gulf Coast and Rachel Miner who last year was a solid bat for conference-foe Nova Southeastern.
Pitching wise, Coach Frew will lean on a young, but talented staff to keep the Tars in contention. Sophomore Grace Street will be asked to take on a bigger role for the Tars this season. In her rookie season, Street went 11-3 with a 1.81 ERA while also hitting .357 at the plate with 14 RBI’s. Fellow sophomore Erin Fortney will look to continue her progression after making seven appearances and holding opponents to a .177 batting average.
Did You Know: Rollins became the third team five seasons to advance to the South Super Regional as a sixth seed. (Florida Southern in 2012, Shorter in 2015). All three of those times, they were eliminated by the team who eventually went to win the National Championship.
Photos by Jim Houge of Jim Houge Photography