CHICAGO – The secret to the extraordinary success of the Saint Xavier University softball team's 2013 campaign was not limited to the superb pitching performances of junior Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) and freshman sister Nicole Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community). In fact, the Cougar defense was extremely impressive throughout the year as well to the tune of a NAIA-best .981 fielding percentage. However, not only was it the best fielding percentage by a NAIA team this season, but also the best single season fielding percentage in the history of NAIA softball. The mark surpasses the old national mark of .977 set by Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) rival Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) during the 2012 campaign. The Cougars also officially finished the 2013 season with a No. 7 national ranking when the 2013 NAIA Softball Coaches' Postseason Top 25 Poll was released Wednesday.
"Our coaching staff stressed defense and pitching every single day," said Saint Xavier University softball coach Myra Minuskin. "The outcome of an at-bat is out of our control, but playing good solid defense is something we can control. We actually exceeded our goal of a .980 fielding average. It is a mindset, a lot of hard work and a total team accomplishment. I'm so proud of what this team achieved this year and they proved to everyone that they were one of the top teams in the NAIA. Finishing at No. 7 in the nation is an amazing feat and unprecedented for our program."
SXU had a monster 2013 campaign finishing up with a 50-9 overall record, winning the CCAC regular season title with a 19-1 mark, claiming the CCAC Tournament title and winning the Portland (Ore.) bracket of the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round. Claiming a spot in the 10-team NAIA Softball National Championship in Columbus, Ga., the Cougars won one of their three games to claim the No. 7 national finish, the best in program history.