The calendar advance to 2006 hardly brought sweet results for the St. Johns softball team. The Storm struggled through a disappointing campaign, compiling a modest 27-30 overall record, with only 8 wins in 22 conference games; good for 8th place in the Big East, and barely capturing a tournament berth. After starting out the season a rocky 3-7, the Storm gained some momentum and captured victories in twelve of their next 15 games. Despite a sloppy stretch of some big conference losses, the team qualified for the school’s first Big East tournament appearance in 12 years. The women finished the season with six straight losses, including two shutouts by Notre Dame. After earning the eighth seed in the Big East Tournament, the Red Storm blew a 2-0 lead and fell to Louisville 8-2. Head coach Debbie DeJong has decided to leave the Storm’s program after one season as head coach and will take a position as Assistant Athletic Director at Dowling University, according to a Red Storm press release. Despite the less than mediocre record, the 2006 squadron set team records in hits, RBIs, walks, and double plays turned. St.John’s has yet to name DeJong’s successor as head coach. The Storm’s regular season victory over 19th ranked Louisville was their first victory against a nationally-ranked team since 2003. Freshman catcher Lauren Lupinetti led the team with a .404 batting average, a .590 slugging percentage, a club record 48 RBIs, and tied for the team lead with eight long balls. Senior Kim Sherlock led the club with 99 total bases and 67 hits to Lupinetti’s 65. Both women were named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Mid-Atlantic All-Region Softball team. Sherlock graduated St.John’s as the all-time career leader with 240 hits, 144 runs scored, 51 doubles, and 33 homers.Lisa Geer led the team with 12 wins, despite losing 14 games, in 164 innings pitched. She also led the team in strikeouts with 138. Kimberly Lerch had 8 wins and the lowest ERA on the team at 2.86. Sophomore outfielder Bionka King was chosen to represent St. John’s at the 2006 leadership conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The women’s softball team also earned their second straight community service award, and was the top performers in the ‘Storm Tracker’ competition; a school-based student development incentive program. Despite the less then stellar season, the softball team, led by the young star backstop Lupinetti, could have a bright future in the years to come.