Nov. 20, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Penn State softball head coach Amanda Lehotak announced the addition of five student-athletes for the 2014-15 season on Wednesday morning. The 2014-15 signing class features talent from all around the country with Mollie Sorenson (Stevenson Ranch, Calif.) and Rebecca Ziegler (Tucson, Ariz.) traveling from the west, Gianna Arrizurieta (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) hailing from the south and Jessica Cummings (Owings, Md.) and Alyssa VanDerveer (Hillsborough, N.J.) joining from the northeast.
"We are very excited to welcome the 2014 class to the Penn State softball family," said first year head coach Amanda Lehotak. "We believe that this group is very athletic and talented in several areas of the game and are so proud that they haven chose to be Nittany Lions."
Gianna Arrizurieta Infielder
Pembroke Pines, Fla. American Heritage Plantation Gold Coast Hurricanes
Arrizurieta joins the Penn State squad after a phenomenal high school career. Arrizurieta has lettered all four years in softball as an infielder, earning first team all-state honors as a sophomore and second team all-state laurels as a junior. The Pembroke Pines, Fla. Native helped lead American Heritage Plantation to the Class 5A State Championship as a sophomore and was named the team's defensive player of the year for her efforts on the field. She also garnered Miami Herald Player of the Year laurels after helping her team reach the state semi-finals in her junior season. Arrizurieta has hit .490 throughout her career with two homeruns, 77 RBI's and 62 runs. Arrizurieta was also a member of the Gold Coast Hurricanes club team. Led by head coach Tiffany Defelice, the Gold Coast Hurricanes placed fifth in the 16U ASA Nationals in 2012.
Arrizurieta on Penn State: "Everyone says you just know when it's the right school and that is the feeling I got walking around Penn State, I knew it was where I wanted to spend the next four years. The tradition, the coaches, the top level education, the facilities - I wanted to be a part of it all."
Lehotak on Arrizurieta: "Gianna is a very athletic, very versatile player. She can play multiple positions and she plays them all well. Gianna is a contact hitter who will bring some much needed speed to our lineup."
Jessica Cummings Pitcher
Owings, Md. Northern HS Vienna Stars Gold
Cummings comes to Penn State as one of the top 70 recruits in the country. A pitcher for Northern HS, she helped lead her team to the Maryland 3A State Championship three straight seasons and a No. 1 ranking in the USA today/NFCA High School Top 25 Poll in 2013. The two-time Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year (2012-13) posted a 22-0 record with a 0.00 ERA and 298 strikeouts in 135 innings pitched during her junior season. Cummings' achievements were recognized in 2013 as she was named the Max Preps All-American Medium Schools Player of the Year and a Max Preps Softball first team All-American. As a sophomore, she turned in a 0.28 ERA with 260 strikeouts in 128 innings pitched, earning first team all-conference plaudits. Cummings is a member of the Vienna Stars Gold club team and is coached by Tony Rollins.
Cummings on Penn State: "I chose Penn State because it had the perfect balance of strong academics and competitive athletics. It has an absolutely beautiful campus and unmatched school spirit that created an atmosphere I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of."
Lehotak on Cummings: "Jessica is going to add a lot of depth to our pitching staff. She has had a tremendous high school career and we will look for her to bring a competitive edge in the circle. She is a great match for Penn State."
Mollie Sorenson Outfield/Infield
Stevenson Ranch, Calif. West Ranch HS So Cal Choppers
Sorenson is a four-year letterwinner for West Ranch HS. The infielder/outfielder helped lead the Wildcats to two consecutive Foothill League Championships (2012-13) and the state quarterfinals in 2013. Sorenson has a batting average of .300 with 18 RBIs, 47 runs and 18 stolen bases through three years of competition. She earned second team All-Foothill League accolades for her efforts during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Sorenson was appointed the captain of the So Cal Choppers traveling team for the 2013-14 season after she helped lead them to a top-three finish in the 2012 Triple Crown Sports Nationals. She played alongside current Nittany Lion Kristina Brackpool with the Choppers in 2011 and 2012.
Sorenson on Penn State: "I chose Penn State because of the tradition and legacy of the school. I knew it would give me a great education that would lead me to amazing career opportunities."
Lehotak on Sorenson: "Mollie is versatile athlete with multiple tools from the left side. Her competitive spirit will be an asset for her as well as our team adding depth to our outfield."
Alyssa VanDerveer Catcher
Hillsborough, N.J. Hillsborough HS N.J. Intensity KOD
VanDerveer is a two-time letterwinner for Hillsborough HS, The catcher helped lead the Raiders to back-to-back Skyland Conference Championships in 2012 and 2013 and was named the All-Area Rookie of the Year as a sophomore. VanDerveer garnered third team all-state recognition in 2013 and was named to the first team all-region as a sophomore and junior. She was also tabbed the Somerset County Player of the Year in 2013. The Hillsborough, N.J. native has turned in a hitting percentage of .464 over the past two seasons with 15 homeruns and 64 RBIs. VanDerveer is a member of the N.J. Intensity KOD, which placed ninth at the Premier Girls Fastpitch Nationals, and is coached by Kevin O'Donnell.
VanDerveer on Penn State:
"I chose Penn State because the educational opportunities are terrific, the facilities are unbelievable and I could easily imagine myself playing and having a great experience in Happy Valley."
Lehotak on VanDerveer:
"Alyssa will fight for time behind the plate. She has a great sense of the game and will be an asset to the team. Her strength right now is her hitting and we very are excited to have her bat in our line up."
Rebecca Ziegler Outfield
Tucson, Ariz. Canyon del Oro HS Arizona Hot Shots Gold
Ziegler is a four-time letterwinner at Canyon del Oro HS. The outfielder helped lead the Dorados to back-to-back Division II state championships in 2011 and 2012. She turned in a hitting percentage of .474 with seven RBIs during her junior campaign. The Tucson, Arizona native is a current member of the Arizona Hot Shots Gold travel team. Ziegler previously played with the Desert Thunder Gold that went on to win the 2012 USA/ASA Girls 18U Gold National Championship under coaches Kelly and Lance Fowler.
Ziegler on Penn State:
"Going to Penn State offers so many benefits. It will take me to a part of the country that I have never been and will give me a chance to enhance my opportunities after softball. I am looking forward to becoming a part of the new chapter of Penn State softball and am extremely excited to be a Nittany Lion."
Lehotak on Ziegler:
"Rebecca is a triple threat from the left side. She is instinctive on the bases and a natural outfielder. We will look for her to bring great athleticism to our program as well as her uniqueness as an all-around athlete."