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By: Fran Carrullo, junior pitcher
Coach Kvilhaug Previews 2012 BIG EAST Tournament
Photos from the Red Storm Softball's annual 100 Out Fundraiser at Red Storm Field.
Amy Kvilhaug was named the eighth head coach in St. John's softball history in July of 2006. In her time at the helm of the Red Storm program, she has led the Johnnies to new program heights in the always-competitive BIG EAST Conference and has established a trend of growing success during her tenure.
The 2013 squad finished with 17 wins including five of their final seven games in April after taking a pair of series victories over Rutgers and Villanova in the final two weeks.
Kvilhaug got to see two of her young stars step up in 2013 as freshman Tori Free and Jackie Reed were named Third-Team All-Conference selections, marking the 11th player to receive All-Conference honors since Kvilhaug took over in 2006. Senior Chrissy Montez also rounded out her stellar four-year career under Kvilhaug after being named to the NFCA Division I All-Great Lakes Region Team.
Free spent her rookie campaign as the ace for the Red Storm behind a 2.65 ERA and 11-17 record while placing second in the St. John's single-season record books with 207 strikeouts. Reed ended her junior season with a .341 average and a .595 slugging percentage while leading the team with 12 doubles.
Montez earned the NFCA honors for the first time in her career after she set the St. John's single-season record for home runs with 16 while tying for second in runs (40) and placing third in slugging percentage (.706) in her final season.
2012 was one of the most successful seasons during the Kvilhaug Era, as the squad earned 23 wins and the No. 6 seed in the 2012 BIG EAST Championship--the best seeding in program history since the conference moved to an eight-team format. In addition, the team defeated No. 24 Syracuse in the first round of the tournament, marking just the second time in program history that the Red Storm advanced to the conference semifinals.
Several players shone for the Red Storm in 2012 under Kvilhaug's tutelage, as senior Kacee Cox was named the BIG EAST Player of the Year, becoming the first player to win the award in school history. Cox was also a first team All-BIG EAST selection, a second team All-NFCA Great Lakes Region honoree after becoming the school record holder for home runs and RBI. Fellow senior Kristi Cady earned a second team All-BIG EAST spot , while Cox and junior Chrissy Montez earned BIG EAST Player of the Week honors over the course of the season. Cox was also named the Louisville Slugger Division I Player of the Week on April 30, another first for the softball program.
In the circle, sophomore Ashley Beza had a strong year under Kvilhaug's guidance as a pitching expert. Beza made 40 appearances, with 33 starts, 19 complete games, 14 wins and 223.1 innings pitched, all single-season records during the Kvilhaug Era.
The Red Storm went 20-30 in 2011, posting the second-best winning percentage of the Kvilhaug Era. The success was fueled by a strong mix of veteran leadership with young, promising talent, including sophomore Amber Curry, who was named first-team All-BIG EAST.
The team went 18-33 in 2010, but featured improved performances by a host of St. John's players, including NFCA Division I All-Great Lakes Region second team selection and All-BIG EAST second team honoree Kacee Cox.
After going 18-36 in 2007 in her first season coaching in Queens, Kvilhaug led the Red Storm to a 20-35 overall mark and a 13-9 home record in 2008 behind one of the best defenses in the BIG EAST. In 2009, Kvilhaug's squad posted a 24-26 record and went 11-13 in the BIG EAST -- a major improvement from the previous year's 5-17 showing. The Red Storm made its first BIG EAST Tournament in three years in 2009, earning the No. 7 seed.
St. John's players have thrived in the BIG EAST spotlight under Kvilhaug. In the past six seasons, Red Storm players have statistically ranked among the conference's elite and have garnered All-BIG EAST honors for their outstanding play. The Red Storm had three All-BIG EAST selections in Kvilhaug's first season at St. John's. She has coached a total of nine Red Storm players to all-conference team honors.
Before coming to St. John's, Kvilhaug spent four seasons as head coach of the Radford University Highlanders. While at Radford, she took the program to new heights and molded it into one of the top teams in the Big South Conference. Kvilhaug compiled a 127-115 overall record at Radford. After winning 17 games in her first year, she led her team to three consecutive seasons with 30 or more victories, marking the first time in Radford history that the team had posted back-to-back-to-back winning campaigns.
In 2006, Kvilhaug guided Radford to its first 40-win season and posted a .645 winning percentage. Under her direction, Radford's pitching staff ranked ninth in the nation with a 1.12 ERA and the Highlanders made their first-ever appearance in a Big South Championship game.
In her four seasons with Radford, Kvilhaug had 17 Highlanders earn all-conference honors. Eight players earned first team recognition, giving Radford more first-teamers in Kvilhaug's four seasons than in the previous 11 years combined. Kvilhaug was named Big South Co-Coach of the Year in 2005 and left Radford as the all-time wins leader.
Kvilhaug is very familiar with the BIG EAST, as she was a four-year standout in the circle for the Providence Friars from 1993-1996. The pitcher made an immediate impact for the program, earning BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, first team All-BIG EAST, second team All-New England and Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament MVP honors during her freshman season. Kvilhaug served as a team captain during her last three years on the team, leading the Friars to a BIG EAST Championship in 1994 and the ECAC Championship in 1995. She ranks first on Providence's all-time career list in appearances (115), starts (92), innings pitched (700.2), earned run average (1.20), wins (72), complete games (84) and shutouts (27).
Kvilhaug returned to her alma mater as an assistant coach from 1999-2002, after making coaching stops at Seton Hall, Rutgers and Florida Southern.
Kvilhaug graduated from Providence with a bachelor's degree in marketing and has started working towards her master's degree in sport management at St. John's. Originally from Taunton, Mass., Kvilhaug currently resides in Manhattan, N.Y.