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    Nov. 21, 2012

    CHICAGO - UIC softball head coach Michelle Venturella announced that five student-athletes have inked a National Letter of Intent to continue their softball and academic careers at UIC in the fall of 2013.

    Elaine Heflin (Downers Grove, Ill./North), Kelly Kennedy (Plainfield, Ill./North), Kaleigh Nagle (Plainfield, Ill./Central), Rachel May (Minooka Community) and Savannah Soppet () join the Flames roster at the start of the 2013 academic year and begin competition in February of 2014.

    "We are so pleased to have these five young women join the UIC softball program," Venturella said. "Each of them exemplifies the qualities we look for in our student-athletes. They are hard-working, dedicated and competitive. These young ladies are excellent students and I anticipate they will continue to succeed in the classroom as our student-athletes have done in recent years."

    "We are excited to have one of the top pitchers in the area join our team" Venturella said. "Elaine (Heflin) not only has the tools that are necessary to compete and win at this level, she has the drive and heart that will help to continue to get better every single day. Kelly (Kennedy) will experience exactly what I am referring with Elaine as she will be one of Elaine's catchers. Kelly has such great presence and demands the best out of herself and those around her. These two will work really well together throughout their careers here at UIC."

    THE ELAINE HEFLIN FILE: A four-time letterwinner in softball (pitcher) at Downers Grove North (Ill.) ... led her team to four West Suburban Silver Conference championships ... notched a section accolade during her freshman season ... ranked national four consecutive seasons ... served as team captain as a senior ... all-conference and all-regional selection during her freshman, sophomore and junior campaigns ... all-state selection as a junior ... blanked 244 batters during the 2012 season ... received academic letters in 2010 and 2012 ... honor roll member from 2009-12 ... born Dec. 6, 1994, in LaGrange, Ill. ... daughter of Peter and Ella Heflin ... has one brother, Baker, who graduated from UIC in 2010 ... greatest athletic thrill to date is pitching a perfect game during the 2012 campaign ... intends to major in criminology and law.


     

     

    THE KELLY KENNEDY FILE: A four-time letterwinner in softball (catcher) at Plainfield North (Ill.) ... named the team's "Most Valuable Player" as a sophomore ... three-time (freshman, sophomore and junior seasons) all-city special mention ... also lettered in basketball during her freshman and sophomore seasons ... holds the Plainfield North homerun record with 24 ... holds the single-season homerun record with 11 ... member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and Link Crew ... high honor roll accolades, 5.0 Club ... named the Student of the Month for English ... two-time Student of the Month for Foreign Language ... born Sept. 12 1994, in Moline, Ill. ... daughter of Erin and Julie Kennedy ... has two younger siblings, Nolan and Alie ... greatest athletic thrill to date is from her junior season when she hit a homerun in the top of the seventh inning to lead her team to its first-ever victory over Plainfield Central ... intends to major in pre-law or pre-medicine.

    "Kaleigh (Nagle) will come in and give us some depth at the shortstop position," Venturella said. "She is very athletic and is simply fun to watch. Rachel (May) is also a shortstop, who can play a few positions. She loves to play and is willing to put in the time and effort needed at this level to succeed."

    THE KALEIGH NAGLE FILE: A two-time letterwinner in softball at Plainfield Central (Ill.) ... assister her team to a conference championship during her sophomore season ... notched sectional and regional championships during her junior campaign ... served as team captain as a senior ... all-conference accolades as a sophomore and junior ... born July 10, 1995, in Chicago, Ill. ... daughter of Mike and Dorothy Nagle ... has three siblings, Stephanie, Presley and Delaney ... father attended UIC ... greatest athletic thrill to date is receiving a scholarship to continue her softball career, while receiving a great education ... plans to major in education.

    THE RACHEL MAY FILE: A three-time letterwinner in softball (shortstop) at Minooka Community (Ill.) ... notched Southwest Prairie Conference championships during her sophomore and junior seasons ... served as team captain as a junior ... also earned two letters in volleyball ... awarded for having the least fielding errors during the 2012 season for Minooka Community ... voted team captain for the Illinois Hawks and earned the most RBIs on the team ... batted for the cycle for the Illinois Hawks in 2012 ... senior class committee member ... Indian Athletic Leadership Club president ... born Feb. 10, 1995, in Winfield, Ill. ... daughter of Linda Erchinger and Doug May ... has one sibling, Garrett ... greatest athletic thrill to date is winning consecutive Southwest Prairie Conference championships ... intends to major in kinesiology.

    "Savannah gives up flexibility because she is so athletic," Venturella said. "I've seen her play shortstop, but I think she has the ability to play a lot of positions. The versatility with this group is going to make a difference in the success of this program for years to come."

    THE SAVANNAH SOPPET FILE: A three-time letterwinner in softball (utility) at Beecher (Ill.) ... capture three-consecutive River Valley Conference championships (freshman, sophomore and junior seasons) ... earned a regional championship as a sophomore ... named the team's "Most Valuable Player" as a junior ... captured all-conference accolades as a freshman, sophomore and junior ... two-time all-region selection ... all-state honoree as a junior ... also earned four letters in volleyball ... had five home runs, one grand slam in 2012 ... two home runs and one grand slam in 2011 ... member of National Honor Society (vice president), Spanish National Honor Society ... math team, student council, class representative (vice president), Spanish Club, Bully Busters, Freshman Mentors, St. Luke United Church of Christ ... three-time Math Team award winner ... recipient of the Thinker Award ... born Jan. 25, 1995, in Munster, Ind. ... daughter of Scott and Cheryl Soppet ... greatest athletic thrill to date is defeating NC Elite at the Alabama Nationals as the underdog team ... intends to major in pre-medicine.

    "I am also very proud that we found such great talent in our own backyard with this class", Venturella said. "We pride ourselves on getting the best kids in the area, as well as keeping our recruiting nationwide to bring in kids from different areas." "Our staff and administration couldn't be more excited about getting the Class of 2013 on campus next fall," Venturella said.

    --UIC--