Rachael Powers '03 recently concluded her seventh season as the head coach of Wheaton College softball program in 2015.
Last spring, Powers guided the Lyons to a 34-10 record overall, which currently stands as the fifth-highest win total in program history, and a trip to the Super Regional round of the NCAA Tournament. Wheaton also captured the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season title with a 17-1 record in conference play and finished the 2015 campaign ranked No. 17 overall in the final National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III Top-25 poll.
In 2014, Powers led the Lyons to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2004 with a 30-12 season overall, the ninth highest win total in a single-season in program history. On May 9, 2013, Powers also reached the 100-career win milestone as the Blue and White defeated Becker College, 6-0, in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) semifinals en route to their first-ever ECAC Championship.
Additionally in 2014, Wheaton received its first national ranking since 2005 as the Lyons compiled a 17-1 start to begin the season to earn the No. 25 spot on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III Top 25 poll. The Blue and White also rattled off a 17-game winning streak from March 9-28, the second-longest run in program history, to jump as high as No. 21 in the poll during the season.
In 2013, Wheaton posted a 28-16 record - the program's 14th season with 25 or more wins (at the time) - en route to its first-ever ECAC Championship. The Lyons had three student-athletes named to the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) All-Conference team and two student-athletes named to the Academic All-Conference team. Emma Hart and Jenna Rocha were also named to the National Fastpitch Coaches' Association (NFCA) All-New England team.
A former all-region student-athlete for the Lyons, Powers returned to Norton in 2008 after spending the previous four years as an assistant coach at Framingham State University. She was an assistant coach on the Lyons 2008 team which posted a 29-14 mark and placed second in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) with a 12-4 record. She was promoted to head coach following the season.
Powers brought unprecedented success to the Framingham State program during her four-year stint (2004-07) as she guided the Rams to 74 wins, including 34 in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) play – the highest four-year totals in program history to that point. Including tournament action, Framingham State was 42-27 against league foes with Powers as a coach.
The Rams captured their first MASCAC Tournament and earned their first-ever NCAA Tournament berth in 2007. Powers helped Framingham State match the program's single-season wins record (21) in both 2006 and 2007 while pushing the squad to the championship round of the MASCAC Tournament in 2004, 2006 and 2007.
A 2003 graduate who majored in U.S. history, Powers was a three-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-New England selection as well as a two-time New England Intercollegiate Softball Coaches Association (NEISCA) All-Region selection during her playing days at Wheaton.
She helped the Lyons post a 143-38-1 record (57-7 NEWMAC) during her four years as a student-athlete as Wheaton won or shared the NEWMAC regular season league crown all four of her years, capturing the conference tournament crown on three occasions. Wheaton advanced to the NCAA Tournament during her final three years (2001-03) and advanced to the College World Series in 2001, where the Lyons finished third nationally. Following the CWS, Powers was named to the All-Tournament Team.
A two-year captain at Wheaton, Powers was the Lyons starting third baseman and center fielder during different points in her career. Upon graduating, she ranked among the top-10 in program history in several offensive categories, including runs (136), hits (199), doubles (38), home runs (15), RBI (117), and stolen bases (62). Powers was also a member of the women’s soccer team as a freshman in 1999.
|2013||28-16||12-4||NEWMAC Tournament, ECAC Champions|
|2014||30-12||13-5||NEWMAC Tournament, NCAA Tournament|
|2015||34-10||17-1||NEWMAC Regular Season Champions, NEWMAC Tournament, NCAA Tournament Super Regional Round|
Paul Bregoli recently concluded his fourth season as an assistant coach with the Wheaton College softball team in 2015.
Bregoli assists the staff in all aspects of the program while primarily focusing on the hitters. Bregoli brings a wealth of knowledge to the Lyons' coaching staff having served as a head coach for a myriad of sports including baseball, basketball, softball and soccer at the youth and high school levels before coming to Wheaton.
Bregoli received his bachelor's of arts in education from the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst and later earned his master's in counselor education from Bridgewater State College, now known as Bridgewater State University. During his undergraduate career, Bregoli was a member of the UMass soccer team and also a member of the Dean's List at the school. Bregoli went on to have a long lasting career in the education system in the Quincy, Mass. public school system culminating in a 24-year stint as an elementary guidance counselor.
In his three seasons with the team, the Lyons have produced a 67-57 record, three New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament appearances and won Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament Championship, coming in 2013.
Kim (Jeffs) Popieniek recently concluded her third season as an assistant coach with the Wheaton College softball team in 2015.
A two-time captain and All-American pitcher at Plymouth State College, now known as Plymouth State University, Popieniek posted a 66-36 career record to go along with an 0.86 earned run average (ERA) and 38 shutouts in 115 games. Popieniek ranks seventh all-time among all NCAA Division III pitchers in career strikeouts with 1,109 and eighth all-time for strikeouts in a single-season with 375 during her sophomore campaign. Upon her graduation in 2005, Popieniek held the NCAA Division III record for most strikeouts in a single-season and most in a single-game with 20 (April 10, 2002 / 8 innings). Her 19 strikeouts against Coast Guard on May 10, 2003 still remains the third highest total all-time in NCAA history in a seven innings or fewer. Popieniek's 0.86 career ERA stills ranks 15th all-time among all NCAA Division III pitchers, while her 38 career shutouts is tied for 21st all-time.
Along with her statistical accolades, Popieniek earned Little East Conference (LEC) Pitcher of the Year accolades twice en route to being inducted into the Plymouth State University Hall of Fame in 2010 and the LEC Hall of Fame in 2013. Popieniek received her bachelor's of science degree in meteorology from Plymouth State in 2005 and her master's of science degree in applied meteorology in 2007. From 2006-2007, Popieniek also served as a pitching coach at Plymouth State.
Popieniek currently owns her own business, Maximum Performance Pitching, and has worked as a pitching instructor since 1999.