Armstrong, Coonce, Hoogeveen sign with Illinois

Head Coach Terri Sullivan announced the signing of the Class of 2005
Head Coach Terri Sullivan announced the signing of the Class of 2005

Nov. 10, 2004

Urbana, Ill. - Lana Armstrong, a 5-7 catcher/infielder from Rowlett, Texas, Kacey Coonce, a 5-8 pitcher, infielder from Goreville, Ill., and Courtney Hoogeveen, a 5-6 middle infielder from Lincoln, Neb., have signed national letters of intent to play softball for the University of Illinois. The Illini have just completed their most successful season in the program's young history with a berth in the NCAA Sweet 16 and a second place finish in the Big Ten.

Head Coach Terri Sullivan on the Class: "This is a very exciting time for Illinois softball! Our 2005 recruiting class is a special one. Kacey Coonce, Lana Armstrong, and Courtney Hoogeveen are extremely talented players. Besides skill, what they have in common is a trait that I love about athletes - they are competitors who want to win all the time.

"All three have had excellent coaching throughout their high school and travel ball careers, and we expect them to be ready to make an impact from day one at Illinois. Kacey, Lana and Courtney come from terrific families - softball junky families. All three of these student-athletes have been coached or instructed by their mothers and fathers. Beyond the playing field, our three signees are very serious about their academic pursuits and will work to be a success in all they do."

Lana Armstrong 5-7 Catcher/Third Base Rowlett, Texas (Garland High School)
Armstrong has been the Dallas Morning News All-Area Defensive Player of the Year for the past three seasons and a three-time all-district honoree. As a freshman, Armstrong earned the Morning-News and Garland All-City Newcomer of the Year award and is a three-time All-City First Team performer. Armstrong has been a consistent hitter as well, batting .372 with 20 RBI as a freshman, .375 with 24 RBI as a sophomore, and .370 with 22 RBI as a junior. She is equally as proficient in the classroom, earning Garland ISD honors for academic excellence all three years of high school, while being a two-time NFCA All-America Scholar Athlete, and being listed in Who's Who in High School Sports the past two seasons. Armstrong played for the Tomboys 18-Gold club team during the summer.

Coach Sullivan on Armstrong: "Lana is a catcher who has the ability to set the tone for a game with her presence behind the plate. She has very quick feet and hands, both extremely important traits for her position. The ball explodes off of her bat, and she sees the ball very well. Lana is a workhouse and knows how to push those around her to get better."

Kacey Coonce 5-8 Infielder/Pitcher Goreville, Ill. (Goreville High School)
Kacey Coonce is one of the top power hitters ever to come out of southern Illinois. Coonce became the first hitter in Illinois state history to score a perfect 80 to win the IHSA State Hitting Derby in 2004. During the contest she belted balls so far that she hit a moving car in the street and a telephone pole beyond the outfield fence. Coonce was a 2003 all-state selection and has been a three-time South Egyptian Conference honoree. This fall Coonce batted .650 with 10 doubles, eight triples, six home runs, 36 RBI and 24 stolen bases in 18 games. In the circle, Coonce tossed back-to-back no-hitters in leading Goreville to the SEC Conference Tournament title and threw 12 shutouts and struck out 234 batters in those 18 games. Coonce helped the Southern Force to the ASA U-18 Gold Division National Championship, the first team from Illinois and just second east of the Mississippi River to claim that honor.

Coach Sullivan on Coonce: "Kacey is just a special player who actually makes the game look easy sometimes. She is a prolific hitter who opponents fear. Kacey knows the game like not many 18-year olds do, and therefore, is a terrific pitcher as well as an outstanding infielder. I really believe Kacey could play any position on the field if asked, and she is going to make everyone around her better with her intensity."

Courtney Hoogeveen 5-6 Middle Infield Lincoln, Neb. (Southeast High School) Hoogeveen was recently named to the Super State First Team after earning Second Team All-Nebraska honors as both a sophomore and a junior. Hoogeveen played for the Echoes Renegades Fast Pitch team, who placed 13th at that ASA U18 Nationals this year and fifth in the nation in 2003. Hooegeveen is a two-time All-City and a two-time Class A All-State infielder. The slap-hitting specialist has a proven ability to get on base, batting .432 as a sophomore, .439 as a junior, and .404 during the summer. In the 2004 season that just ended, Hoogeven batted .420 with 35 runs scored and 24 stolen bases.

Coach Sullivan on Hoogeveen: "Courtney is an exciting player to watch! She is a make-it-happen player offensively, and runs the bases with great instinct and ability. She is very versatile defensively, and because of her game smarts, can play both the infield and outfield. She has a winning attitude in all that she does, and that is contagious to those around her."