Mahar’s Graeff makes college choice

  • Sarah Graeff signs her National Letters of Intent to play both soccer and softball at Dean College, Wednesday in Orange.  STAFF PHOTO/ADAM HARGRAVES

  • Sarah Graeff signs her National Letters of Intent to play both soccer and softball at Dean College, Wednesday in Orange.  STAFF PHOTO/ADAM HARGRAVES

Staff Writer
Published: 3/13/2019 8:51:47 PM

ORANGE — Surrounded by family, friends, coaches and faculty Sarah Graeff signed her National Letter of Intent to play softball at Dean College at Mahar Regional on Wednesday morning.

But Graeff wasn’t finished there as a second signature went on another National Letter of Intent to play soccer as well for the Bulldogs.

“I originally just wanted to go for softball,” Graeff said. “As I was talking with the coach and getting to know the team, a lot of them are dual sports athletes.”

Alyssa Krause is the softball coach at Dean College but also doubles as an assistant for the Bulldogs’ soccer team. That started a dialogue with Ashley Magruda-Wood, the soccer coach at Dean College.

“She (Magruda-Wood) talked to me and watched me play and offered me a spot on the team,” Graeff said. “They gave me an option and I decided to take it.” 

Magruda-Wood watched film on Graeff and her style fit right in with the Bulldogs. 

“She’s a very good defensive player which is something I need on my team,” Magruda-Wood said. “She’s very versatile and strong. Looks to play possession which is something I am looking for.”

Graeff was a steady presence in the middle of the Senators’ defense last fall. 

“She has some savvy and a big leg,” Mahar soccer coach Chad Softic said. “Which will help distributing to the deep corners in college.”

While the film from provided Magruda-Wood with the information on Graeff’s soccer abilities, a face-to-face meeting fully secured Graeff’s spot on the roster.

“When I met her, she fit right in with our team culture,” Magruda-Wood said. 

The idea of playing two sports with a full course load is something Graeff thinks she can handle with the support system she has in place around her.

“I feel confident,” Graeff said. “They are very supportive. As well as my parents, family, friends and past coaches. I think I will be able to handle it.”

Graeff’s interest in the Division III school in Franklin went beyond sports. In the fall,  Graeff plans to study sports management.

“They offer the best options for me,” Graeff said. “I can manage athletics and my education.”

Graeff plays soccer, basketball and softball at Mahar Regional.

For the softball team, Graeff provides a consistent bat and the ability to play third base and catcher for the Senators.

“My original goal was to play softball,” Graeff said. “I’ve loved it since I was little. I want to make sure the team is ready to go this year and the hope is to make tournament. I just want to have fun with it and enjoy my last year.”

Mahar plays in the Franklin League which has the likes of Turners Falls, Greenfield and Frontier. Coach Jerry Duguay has coached Graeff at the varsity level since her freshman season.

“Four straight years, she has played in one of the toughest leagues,” Duguay said. “Hustles all the time. Never argues. Does everything for the team. She’s a leader.”

Graeff’s versatility will be important this season, as she could play a number of positions for Mahar. 

“It fits her and she will do fine,” Duguay said of Graeff playing two sports in college. “She will make an impact immediately. Especially in softball.” 

Softball practice begins on Monday for the Senators.

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