Jan. 7, 2014
LOGAN, Utah - - Utah State softball head coach Steve Johnson announced Tuesday that the team has named the Aggies' four captains for the upcoming 2014 season.
"The process that we picked the captains was kind of like a job application. They applied and had several questions to answer about how they would respond to certain situations and what they see as our strengths and weaknesses and how they would help build those areas as a captain," Johnson said.
The team was looking for players that wanted to be leaders. All potential captains had to stand in front of the coaching staff and team and answer questions.
"I am happy to announce by an overwhelming margin that our captains were Samantha Larsen, Rachel Tuckett, Jolene Koons and Noelle Johnson. All four have earned their teammates' respect this fall especially with their hard work on the field and in the weight room. They have stepped up as leaders, as we began the transition. They have put in the extra time, and they have the qualities that it takes to be leaders. These four will continue to lead this team in the right direction," Johnson said.
"Noelle is a perfect candidate being a pitcher. Right now she is our No. 1, so she is in that leadership role on the field to begin with," Johnson said.
Johnson, a sophomore pitcher, appeared in 32 of Utah State's 54 games last season in the circle, starting 21 games. She pitched 133.1 innings last season with 127 strikeouts.
"Sammy as a catcher is also one of the leaders on the field, but also as a senior she is very well respected by her teammates for her maturity and leadership. Same thing with Rachel. There is a natural maturity there that their teammates respect," Johnson said.
With both Larsen (formerly Miller) and Tuckett (formerly Hunsaker) being married (Larsen to USU football senior OC Tyler Larsen), there is a natural maturity that both players exude.
Larsen, a senior catcher, played in 37 games last season, starting 34. She played 32 games behind the plate, ending the year with 141 putouts and a .988 fielding percentage. Tuckett, a senior outfielder, started 51 of USU's 54 games last season. She hit .217 last season with 26 hits.
"Jolene is another one that as a junior is in the mix at shortstop. She is a great leader and our best all-around player defensively right now. She will be on the field somewhere in the spring. The extra time that she has put in on the field this fall and really stood out to her teammates," said Johnson.
Koons, a junior outfielder, is the second top returning hitter from last season, hitting .264 in 2013. She was second on the team in hits with 38 and tied for first in runs scored with 18.
These four are a natural fit to be captains for the 2014 squad, and Johnson looks forward to them doing a great job.
The 2014 Aggie squad will begin the 2014 season on the road at the St. George Tournament on Feb. 7-8. Utah State's first Mountain West Conference contest will be at home on March 21 against Colorado State.
Fans can keep up with all of the Aggie softball action at www.utahstateaggies.com. Follow Utah State athletics, including softball, at http://twitter.com/USUSoftball.com, as well as on facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/USUSoftball.
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