Skip to main content

River Forest, IL—Leading the Dominican University Stars to history-making success on the softball field this season earned Head Coach Cristina Lukas and her staff a prestigious honor from the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC).

Dominican softball received the NACC Coaching Staff of the Year award earlier this week, honoring the team’s superb accomplishments this season. The award recognizes Lukas and assistant coaches Allison Mulligan, Robert Bastek and Tiffany Opfer, who were selected by their peer coaches in the conference.

This is the first time Dominican’s softball coaching staff has been selected for this recognition.

"It is an honor to be recognized by so many highly respected coaches as Coaching Staff of the Year,” Lukas said. “Our staff has been tremendous this year and I appreciate their commitment to our program." 

The NACC applauded Lukas and her staff for leading the Stars to a program-record 38 wins this season and Dominican’s first appearance in the NCAA Division III Softball Championship. The Stars also captured their first NACC title, besting Lakeland University 3-2 in extra innings on Sunday, May 12.

Lukas joined Dominican University as head softball coach in 2006. She has since become the winningest female coach in Dominican's NCAA era.

“Coach Lukas has worked for nearly two decades to establish the Dominican softball program. With 38 wins this year and counting, she has been a tremendous coach and leader of her program,” said Dr. John Planek, director of intercollegiate athletics at Dominican University. “She also plays an invaluable role within our department as our assistant athletic director and senior women’s administrator.”

This is the second time Lukas has been recognized by the NACC’s coaches. She was named NACC Softball Coach of the Year in 2009.

In addition to the coaching staff, the NACC recognized Dominican University senior Kayla Faber-Cournane as Pitcher of the Year.

Faber-Cournane led all NACC pitchers in appearances, games started, ERA, wins, saves, shutouts and hits allowed per nine innings. She is only the second Dominican student-athlete to be named NACC Pitcher of the Year. She was also named to the all-conference first team.

Other NACC accolades went to Dominican players Donatela Sommesi and Emma Woodhouse, named to all-conference first team; Geneva Pollman, named to the second team; and Liliana Santoyo, honorable mention.

The Stars will travel to Cleveland, Ohio, to take on Calvin University at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 16 in the NCAA Division III National Tournament.


About Dominican University      

Founded in 1901, Dominican University is a comprehensive, coeducational Catholic institution offering an associate of arts in liberal arts and sciences as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees through the Rosary College of Arts and Sciences, the Borra College of Health Sciences, the Brennan School of Business and the College of Applied Social Sciences. The university also offers doctoral degrees in information studies and applied social justice. U.S. News & World Report ranks Dominican University #11 out of all Midwest regional master’s level universities, #1 in the Midwest for Best Value and #1 in Illinois for innovation and ensuring the social mobility of its graduates. Dominican University has campuses in River Forest and Chicago.