RUTHERFORD, N.J. – High-school seniors Vienna Chierchia (Manalapan, N.J./Manalapan), Abby Poirot (Winsted, Conn./St. Paul) and Johanna Rivera (Ridgefield Park, N.J./Mount Saint Dominic Academy) have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their softball careers at Felician University, Felician head coach Alexis Durando announced today.
All three players committed to the Golden Falcons during the first two weeks of the 2018-19 NCAA signing period. The newly legislated span began on Nov. 14 and runs continuously through Aug. 1, 2019, replacing the separate early and regular signing periods of past years.
Felician is a member of NCAA Division II and competes in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference. In 2018, Durando's second year with Felician, the Golden Falcons (19-24, 16-10 CACC) tied for fourth place in the CACC and reached the conference playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.
"These are not only talented ballplayers but all three offer intangible qualities that our coaching staff seeks," Durando said. "They come from top-notch programs which have developed their game IQs extensively."
Chierchia is a 5-foot-7 outfielder for Manalapan High School. As a junior in 2018, she was chosen first-team all-Division and third-team all-Shore Conference. She also earned an Asbury Park Press Conference Player of the Week award. Cheircia plays travel softball for the Jersey Flames Gold. She intends to major in social and behavioral sciences at Felician.
"Vienna is a fantastic outfielder with a strong arm," Durando said. "Her speed and athleticism allow her to cover a lot of ground. She can hit for power but also play the short game."
Poirot, 5-foot-3, was a 2018 Connecticut all-state pitcher for St. Paul Catholic of Bristol. She was also chosen to the all-Naugatuck Valley League first team and the Hartford Courant Fab 15. Piorot, who also runs cross-country for the Falcons, plays summer softball for the Connecticut Mirage Gold. She expects to study nursing.
"Abby is incredibly tough, level-headed and collected," Durando said. "She hits spots well and has a great arsenal of pitches. She can adapt to any opposing line-up."
Rivera is a 5-foot-2 middle infielder for Mount Saint Dominic Academy of Caldwell. She is a three-time honorable-mention all-Super Essex Conference choice, and also plays for the New Jersey Pride travel squad. Rivera hopes to major in accounting.
"Johanna comes from a very competitive high school program," Durando said. "She's a tough out at the plate and can handle both second base and shortstop. She plays with a lot of swagger. I'm excited to have such a high-caliber local athlete joining us."
Felician begins its 2019 season with early-afternoon games against the University of New Haven and Shippensburg University on Feb. 15 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. as part of a five-game weekend trip.
Felician University, the Franciscan University of New Jersey, is a liberal arts, coeducational Catholic university founded in 1942 and sponsored by the Felician Sisters. True to its mission, Felician University welcomes a diverse student population and embraces its educational needs. With campuses in Lodi and Rutherford, New Jersey, Felician University currently enrolls more than 2,400 students and offers more than 55 undergraduate and graduate programs, in the classroom and online, in the arts and sciences, business and management sciences, health sciences and teacher education. Felician University also sponsors 14 varsity intercollegiate sports that compete at the NCAA Division II level.