Valparaiso University Softball Camps
Valparaiso University director of athletics Mark LaBarbera announced on July 23, 2014 that Kate Stake has been hired as the new head coach of the Crusader softball program. Stake comes to Valpo with eight seasons of assistant coaching experience at the Division I level, most recently serving as an assistant at mid-major power Hofstra.
Stake spent two seasons on the coaching staff at Hofstra, working under NFCA Hall of Fame head coach Bill Edwards and helping the Pride to a combined 81 wins over her two years. The 2014 squad went 35-14 and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, finishing the season ranked #33 in RPI. Eight members of the Pride were named NFCA All-Region honorees this past season as well.
In her first season, Stake was part of the NFCA Northeast Region Coaching Staff of the Year which led Hofstra to a 46-13 record as the Pride won regular season and conference tournament championships. Hofstra ended the 2013 campaign ranked #19 in RPI and #25 nationally in the NFCA/USA Today poll, and advanced to the NCAA regional title game. In both of Stake’s seasons with the Pride, Hofstra hit better than .300 and had six regulars hit above the .300 mark.
Prior to her time at Hofstra, Stake spent three seasons as an assistant coach at the United States Military Academy, working primarily with the infielders and serving as the hitting coach. During her time at Army, the program set new single-season records for wins, conference wins, hits and total bases, while in Stake’s final season with the Black Knights, four players made the school's single-season top-10s in hits and RBIs and two players moved into the single-season top-10 in batting average.
Defensively, Stake helped the Black Knights post the Patriot League's top fielding percentage in 2011, while Army ranked second in the category in 2010 and 2012 as well. Over her three seasons, five infielders earned All-Conference accolades, including three First Team selections under her tutelage.
Before arriving at West Point, Stake served two years as a full-time assistant coach for Eastern Illinois after one season as a graduate assistant in 2007. As the primary defensive instructor and first-base coach, Stake also aided in recruiting, concentrating on the Midwest region. Off the field, she monitored the team's academic progress and helped coordinate fundraising efforts while also organizing the team's travel arrangements.
A 2005 graduate of Illinois State, Stake started four years at second base for the Redbirds, playing for NFCA Hall of Fame head coach Melinda Fischer, ranking among Illinois State’s all-time leaders in games started, hits, home runs, RBIs and total bases.
The Buffalo Grove, Ill. native earned Second Team All-American honors in 2005 and was a four-time All-Conference selection – including First Team accolades each of her final two years. She was the recipient of the Linda Herman Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year at Illinois State, the school’s highest academic award given to a student-athlete, and was an Academic All-American as well. In the classroom, Stake earned a bachelor's degree in English education from Illinois State and a master's degree in kinesiology and sports studies from Eastern Illinois.
Joylyn Ichiyama joined the Crusader coaching staff in the summer of 2013, following the completion of her eligibility at Valpo. Ichiyama is responsible primarily for working with the Crusader outfielders.
A two-time First Team All-Horizon League honoree, Ichiyama ranks as one of Valpo's all-time best, both at the plate and in the field. A key cog in the Crusaders' Horizon League champion and NCAA Tournament teams in 2012 and 2013, she closed out her career second in program history in games played and RBIs, as well as third all-time at Valpo in hits and total bases.
In the field, Ichiyama earned Defensive Player of the Championship honors at the 2012 Horizon League Championship while manning third base. The native of Torrance, Calif. finished her career as Valpo's career and single-season record holder for assists.
Ichiyama earned her bachelor's degree in exercise science from Valparaiso in 2012. She is currently working towards her master's degree in health administration. Ichiyama has one son, Jayden Drewry.
Alex Lagesse returned to her alma mater as a member of the Crusader coaching staff in the fall of 2013. Lagesse is primarily responsible for working with the Valpo pitchers.
A two-time All-League honoree during her playing career at Valpo, Lagesse earned Pitcher of the Week honors from the Horizon League office on six occasions. She ranks first in Crusader history in both wins and strikeouts, as well as second in games pitched and fourth in ERA.
A two-time member of the league's All-Tournament Team, she set Valpo's single-season wins record as a senior in 2012, including a pair of wins on Championship Saturday of the league tournament to help lead the Crusaders to their first NCAA Tournament berth.
Lagesse spent the 2013 season serving as a volunteer pitching coach at Saint Joseph's (Ind.) College. She graduated from Valparaiso in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in sports management, and is currently working towards her master's degree in sports administration.