FLANDERS _ Not once while in high school did Jeane Drury consider the winter months boring.
Each year, in December, January, February and into March, Drury got a large dose of excitement by playing basketball for Morris Catholic.
When Drury, a Flanders resident, went on to Pace University, she thought she had left basketball behind. Her focus in college would be softball - until the fall if 2012 when the basketball team had nine players and desperately needed a 10th.
It was then that Pace coach Carrie Seymour called on Drury, recently honored as Pace University Female Athlete of the Year, to fill the void.
"I was done playing, I thought. I was nervous about it," Drury said. "I talked about it with my parents. I did miss basketball. It was pretty boring during the winter. I felt like I should be doing something."
So, after eight games of fall softball, Drury took to the court. She certainly had the skills, having scored more than 1,400 points for the Crusaders. She wound up playing in 26 games and starting one as a sophomore. She started four of 26 games as a junior and averaged 2.9 points for the Division II Setters.
How did Seymour learn about Drury's talents on the hardwood?
"I played intramurals as a freshman and I was the leading scorer one week with a 42-point game," Drury said. "The league was all guys except for our team which was girls from the softball team."
She hasn't been dominant on offense but she did have a dramatic long-range 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer against defending national champion Bentley on February 1. After teammate Loren Kaiser had a shot from outside the arc blocked, Drury grabbed the ball and put up a somewhat awkward heave that left Pace trailing by one, 28-27.
"That was awesome," she said. "I just tossed it up there."
In softball, the sport for which she received a scholarship, Drury, a shortstop, continues to excel and was named to the Northeast-10 Conference third team this spring. She batted .375, knocked in 30 runs and had 16 extra base hits, including five home runs. Drury was among the top eight in the NE-10 in six categories.
For the first time since Drury arrived at Pace, the Setters were in the NE-10 Championship.
"It's been a lot of fun to play here," Drury said. "I've enjoyed it. The teammates I've worked with and the friendships I made have been important. I've gotten to play sports I love with people I've become close to."
Drury was surprised when she was named Pace's top female athlete.
"I thought it'd be a senior," Drury said. "Several of them had great years. I'm honored. It's a great accomplishment. I hope I can have another great season and do it again."
Former Morris Knolls standout Kiki Baldassari received numerous postseason honors at Providence College. Baldassari, a sophomore outfielder, was named to College Sports Madness All-BIG EAST First Team and was also selected for the All-BIG EAST First Team.
Baldassari had a team-leading 28 hits, was second in stolen bases with seven, and had a .418 batting average in conference games. She started all 35 games and had at least one hit in 27 of them. Her overall batting average was .356. Baldassari amassed 42 hits, scored 18 times and had 12 stolen bases for Providence (6-29).
Pope John alumna Katelyn Miele had 54 hits and 29 RBIs for William Paterson. Miele, a senior, led the Pioneers in hits with 54 and in total bases with 75. Her slugging percentage was .560. She started all 42 games for WPU.
Parsippany's Kelsey Principe had an excellent season as well for WPU. The junior outfielder started 41-of-41 games and had 37 hits and 15 RBIs. Principe stole nine bases and had a .985 fielding percentage.
Nikki Caruso, a sophomore utility player, started all 36 games for FDU-Florham and hit .380. Caruso, of Madison, had 46 hits, including 17 for extra bases, and knocked in 30 runs, second best on the team. Her slugging percentage was .612. Caruso had a .972 fielding percentage for the Devils (18-18).
Boonton graduate Kylie Morgan-Polefka went 5-12 and had a 5.29 ERA for Centenary. The freshman right-hander struck out 55 and walked 31 in 110 innings pitched. Morgan-Polefka also had two saves. The Cyclones finished 15-25.
Allie Patierno of Montville played in 10 games for the University of South Florida. The junior outfielder tripled and knocked in two runs in a 10-0 win over Loyola Marymount.
Sarah Bozzo, a freshman defender from Mountain Lakes, started 22 games for Franklin & Marshall. Bozzo had 33 groundballs, second best on the team. She also caused 19 turnovers for the Diplomats (17-6). Franklin & Marshall was the regional runner-up.
West Morris alum Carly Shello plays defense for The College of New Jersey. Shello, a junior, saw action in all 20 games and had 23 groundballs for the Lions, whose run ended with a loss to Amherst in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals.
Another former West Morris standout, Carly Baffuto is excelling as goalie for Lock Haven. Baffuto started all 22 games and had a .465 saves percentage. The team's record with her in goal was 19-3. Lock Haven fell to Adelphia 7-5 in the Division II national championship game. Baffuto had seven saves in the final and was named to the all-tournament team.
Alexandra Mattiace (Montville), Theresa Shafron (Roxbury), Larkin Dolan (Morristown, The Hill School), Ali Kreisinger (Oak Ridge, Pope John) and Kelly Dwyer (Mountain Lakes) played for Drew University. Mattiace started all 18 games and had a goal and an assist. Kreisinger made 17 starts and had two goals and seven assists. Shafron connected for eight goals and had five assists. Dwyer scored three times.
Track and field
Princeton freshman Megan Curham (Villa Walsh) qualified for the NCAA Championships with a fourth-place finish in the 10K at the East Regional. Curham ran a 33:25.12. She established a Princeton record (33:24.79) at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships and was named second team All-Ivy.
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