Natalia Ardagna enters her 13th season with the Beacons in 2019.
She has set a new standard for winning since taking over as head coach and recently has led the Beacons to the most successful stretch in program history. Ardagna became the first coach in program history to earn 100 career victories in 2014 and comes into the year with 205 victories in Beacons Blue.
After taking over a seven-win team, Ardagna has built UMass Boston into a consistent winner and participant in the Little East Conference tournament, culminating in back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2017 and 2018.
Ardagna led the Beacons to their fourth-straight trip to the Little East Conference Championship Series in the spring of 2019. The Beacons put together an extremely strong run in April to earn the program’s first-ever NCAA Regional Ranking (10th in New England on April 18). Later that afternoon, Ardagna became the first softball coach in school history and the fourth coach in school history to record 200 wins as Beacon, when the Beacons defeated Salem State University 12-4.
After finishing the regular season as the fifth seed in the LEC Standings, the Beacons went 2-2 in the LEC Tournament, including upset wins over number 1 UMass Dartmouth and number 2 Plymouth State University. The Beacons season ended against LEC Tournament Champion Eastern Connecticut State University.
UMass Boston earned their second-straight LEC Tournament Title in 2018 after overcoming several early season struggles. The Beacons incredibly young roster, that featured no seniors and just three upperclassmen, got off to a 2-8 start in Florida and opened conference play 3-8. With their backs against the wall, UMass Boston won two of their final three conference games to earn a spot in the LEC Tournament as the sixth seed.
The Beacons were unfazed by their seeding, as they mowed down the competition to become the first six seed in LEC Tournament history to win an LEC Tournament. During their 4-0 run, UMass Boston beat top-seeded Plymouth State University twice and took down the University of Southern Maine (eight innings) and Western Connecticut State University (11 innings) in back-to-back games. With the walk-off win against Western Connecticut State University, Ardagna collected her 200th career win.
The Beacons put together an even more impressive season in 2017. Despite having a roster that featured 14 underclassmen, Ardagna led the Beacons to their first-ever LEC Regular Season Title, first-ever LEC Tournament Title and first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.
After being picked first in the LEC Coaches' Preseason Poll for the first time in program history, UMass Boston jumped out to a 8-2 start in Florida. The Beacons pushed their record out to 12-2 and began garnering votes in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association National Poll for the first time in school history.
After suffering through a 2-5 start to April, the Beacons rebounded and closed out conference play on a 7-3 run to finish with a program-best 8-6 conference mark. Their 8-6 record put them in a tie for first-place, but due to tiebreakers the Beacons fell to the fourth seed in the Little East Conference Tournament.
UMass Boston earned a wild 9-8, nine-inning win over #3 Western Connecticut State University on the road, before defeating fifth-seeded UMass Dartmouth in the second round of the LEC Tournament. After being tripped up by top-seeded Plymouth State University, the Beacons came back to beat #2 Eastern Connecticut State University to reach the LEC Championship Series for the second-straight year and second time in school history.
In the LEC Championship Series, UMass Boston swept top-seeded Plymouth State University 3-1 and 6-2 to earn the program's first-ever LEC Tournament Title.
The following weekend, UMass Boston bounced back from a day one loss to Amherst College, to earn back-to-back elimination game wins over Springfield College and Salve Regina University. With the two wins, UMass Boston earned a spot in the NCAA Regional Final, in which they fell to eventual College World Series participant Amherst.
For the year, UMass Boston set new program records for wins (30-13), hits, doubles and total bases. The Beacons also had their first-ever players named as the LEC Player and Pitcher of the Year.
The 2017 season piggybacked off a 2016 season that saw the Beacons accomplish a number of firsts. In 2016, Ardagna led a youthful Beacons side to their second-best record in program history at 22-19. UMass Boston qualified for the Little East Conference Tournament for the for the first time in three years and made a stunning run to the LEC Championship Series. After recording just one win in their first 10 LEC Tournament games, the Beacons went 3-2 in this year's LEC Tournament.
In 2015, the Beacons dealt with a slew of injuries and an extremely young team, but still nearly claimed a playoff spot. The Beacons earned a sweep of UMass Dartmouth on Senior Day to almost capture their first playoff spot since 2013.
The 2014 season saw the Beacons compete for a playoff spot until the final day of the regular season despite fielding one of the youngest rosters in New England. UMass Boston proved to be competitive in almost every game, and the year saw the team earn their first-ever win over a nationally-ranked team-when they defeated #25 Wheaton College 7-5 on April 1.
In 2013, Ardagna recorded her 100th career victory as a head coach and helped guide the Beacons to their third-consecutive Little East Conference Tournament appearance. The Beacons posted a new program-record for players on the All-Conference team, as five position players were honored, including First Teamer Sue Killilea.
UMass Boston finished the 2012 season with their second consecutive postseason berth despite having to replace two-thirds of the team’s pitching staff.
In 2011, she proved that the Beacons continued success was no fluke as she set a new-single season record with 24 wins. It was also in that season, that she led UMass to their first Little East Conference tournament appearance and first postseason win.
The 2010 season truly marked a new chapter in the program’s history as Ardagna’s Beacons set new school records in almost every offensive category including, runs, hits, batting average, total bases, RBI, and slugging percentage. She also coached the conference Rookie of the Year in Killilea, who to-date stands as the only three-time NFCA All-Region honoree (2011 & 2012) in school history.
Wasting no time after arriving on the Harbor Campus, Ardagna’s first team set a school record for hits, as well as setting a new mark for league wins which she has continued to surpass every season she is in the dugout.
Her credentials as a Head Coach are outstanding. Prior to her arrival at UMass Boston, the former catcher spent the three seasons on the Simmons College Softball coaching staff, where she helped the Sharks to three straight playoff appearances, including her final season as the team's Head Coach, which yielded the most victories in school history with 19.
Prior to her coaching career, Ardagna was an outstanding four-year player at Bridgewater State University (MA), where she helped the Bears put together an impressive 104-64-2 record for a 61.8% winning mark, including four straight Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) titles and three trips to the NCAA Regionals.
While at Bridgewater State, Ardagna earned multiple MASCAC Player of the Week accolades and was named Second Team All-Conference after leading the MASCAC in batting average and runs batted in during her senior season.A native of Revere, she graduated from Bridgewater State in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and a minor in sociology.