“It’s been an absolute honor to coach and mentor ALL of our Glory players who played for something bigger than themselves, who gave their teammates their very best (#IronSharpensIron), and who competed at the highest level. Thank YOU for helping us shape our Purpose Driven Softball movement. We hope you take great pride in what YOU helped build and that you will cherish it always.”
— Coach Mertz
TEAM ALUMNAE & PARENTS YEARBOOK
Joining Glory has been one of the best decisions of my life. The program not only made me a better softball player but a better person. Thank you for the unbelievable opportunities that you have given me. Thank you for introducing me to my best friends. I don’t know where I’d be or who I’d be without Glory. You took me in as a young girl who liked to play softball and turned me into a strong, capable woman with a passion for the sport of softball. I will never forget all the amazing experiences and I will be eternally grateful to have been a part of this Glory family.
— Kathryn Sandercock, ‘18, Florida State | 2021 Women’s College World Series | USA Jr. Natl Team | PGF All-American | VA Gatorade POY
The 7 years I spent playing for Glory were some the best years of my life. I made life long friends and memories that I will have forever. This organization prepared me for college not only on the field but off. Academics was always a priority for this organization as it is in college. On the field the amount of reps and good instruction, both offensively and defensively, really prepared me well for the practices at Penn State. Having my number 23 retired at my signing senior year is something I will never forget. I am in debt to Coach Mertz, Coach Griffith and this organization for playing a part in turning me into the strong young woman I am today.
— Ally Kurland, ‘18, Penn State / Georgia | PGF All-American | #23 Retired
Our family has both the honor and privilege of having the longest tenure with Coach Mertz and his Virginia Glory teams. Putting words to feelings underestimates how much love, respect, and appreciation we have for the time, energy, and passion the Glory coaches put into each player. Coach Mertz, Coach Griffith and Coach Neuhart were more than softball coaches; they served as mentors, sounding-boards, and the biggest advocates a player could have in supporting Ally’s dream of attending and playing at Penn State. Having been on this softball journey since our daughter was 9 years old, there was no one we entrusted our daughter’s goals and ambitions to more than Glory. We are grateful and blessed to have been part of the Glory family!
— Liz and Kevin Kurland, Glory Parents 2012-2018, Penn State/Georgia Parent
Reflecting back on my softball career, I can confidently say that joining the Glory organization at any early age played a pivotal role in my success as a Division 1 player. As a freshman, I knew that I would have to continuously work hard to earn a starting spot. I spent countless hours on my own combined with all-out efforts at practice each year at JMU which ultimately paid off as I was able to step onto the field as the starting CF at the Womens College World Series and compete for a national title. However, this work ethic is something that was instilled in me during my time with the Glory as I too had to compete for playing time while in travel ball. The long days at showcase tournaments paired with the hours spent practicing with the team and as an individual were a great preparation tool for life as a division 1 athlete. I credit much of my success in understanding what it takes to compete and earn a starting spot at a high level to my time with the Glory.
— Michelle Sullivan, ‘17, JMU | 2021 Women’s College World Series
Mike, thank you for everything you do for the young ladies. What you do is not normal. It is special. And truly shows your absolute caring nature for doing everything in your power to help each one achieve their potential and dream. Wanted you to know that I recognize it and I am grateful. Fortunate to know you.
— Gregg Ritchie, former Pittsburgh Pirates Hitting Coach, Team USA Baseball Coach, GW Head Baseball Coach, Glory Parent 2014-2018, UVA Parent
Glory is one of the most common praise words in the scripture. Glory translated in Hebrew can be defined as honor and respect. Glory Softball has taught me both honor and respect. Not only respect for the players and coaches around me, but for the game, because you aren’t promised tomorrow. Glory has also taught me to honor this sport as well as the greats who have worn this jersey before me because it is a legacy that they have all worked hard to provide for me. Purpose Driven Softball has taught me the true GIFT of the game. Driving six hours one way to practice every weekend wasn’t something I had to do… it was something that I GOT to do. God gave me the opportunity to play the sport I love with the people I love. Playing for this organization has taught me more about who I am and what boundaries I used to put on myself. Taking a leap of faith and joining a national team that was out of a whole different state was uncomfortable at first, but it taught me that you have to be uncomfortable in order to grow. I will forever be indebted to this program.
— Makenzie Mason, ’20, UCONN | PGF All-American Finalist
Mike, I can’t thank you enough for everything. I am speechless right now and I will tell anyone that the process is 2 parts: 1) Your daughter putting in the hard work and dedication. 2) Being a part of a servant organization with purpose, culture and high expectations and standards for their players. You absolutely give more to the girls and the team than you get in return. But it’s times like these when you can look back and know you made a difference in a girl‘s life. Thank you, Mike. I can’t wait to give you a big hug and a hearty thank you. It is a blessing to have had the opportunity to put on the Glory uniform and play with this TEAM! Love ya, Brother.
— Elmer Mason, Glory Parent/Coach 2017-2020, UCONN Parent
Playing for Glory was an amazing experience. You don’t find many travel teams with such passionate coaches. You would think that coaching is their second full-time job. They truly love all of their players and put so much into allowing them to live out their dreams. What makes Glory so special is that it breeds a culture of unity and family. Everyone says that the game teaches you so much about life. I have experienced this first-hand in numerous ways. However, I think playing for Glory taught me one of the most important lessons the game has to offer — it’s also about the relationships and memories you make along the way. Glory isn’t just a team; it’s a family. I have made some of my best friends and memories while playing for this organization. I was able to take this lesson with me to college and started appreciating every moment, from the exciting wins to the early morning run tests. All because I knew how special it is to be a part of a team. Glory taught me that softball is more than just a game.
— Tori Gilbert, ‘18, University of Virginia (2022 Offensive POY)
My Glory experience really showed me what it’s like to have a team that is really bonded and cares about each other. Softball is about more than the sport. It’s about building relationships and friendships. Glory is the type of program that builds a family.
— Arizona Ritchie, ‘18, University of Virginia (2022 Infielder of the Year) | PGF All-American
I’ll never forget the day I tried out for Glory. At the end of the practice, we were doing wall sits while holding a rope over our heads then we had to run down and touch a line. Somehow I managed to get at the end of that wall sit line and my legs were burning by the time I had to run. Finally it was my turn to run and when I took off my legs just gave out and I wiped out across the turf (you had to be there to really understand how funny this was). After wiping out, I got up and finished running. At the time, this seemed like the most embarrassing thing, especially because I was the new girl. Even though I wiped out, I still made the team (yay!) and it is something I will always be grateful for.
Everyone, I mean everyone, involved in the Glory organization that I crossed paths with were phenomenal people. They cared about me as a player and a person. This organization helped me mature not only as a teammate and player but as a person too. Glory brought me to some of the best people I have ever met. I formed relationships with teammates and coaches that will last a lifetime. I also have memories that I will never forget (the ups and the downs…haha). Getting to play with the Glory was so much fun and if I could go back and do it all again I would. I learned about myself and the game. I was fortunate to learn from my coaches, teammates, and players from other teams too.
Glory softball was a huge part of my life for many years and it is also a huge part of so many lives. Whether this is just the beginning of your travel ball career, or near the end, enjoy every moment because it flies by. Take in time at the hotel pool with your teammates, traveling with your parents, or just those small conversations with umpires in the field. At the end of the day, those little moments and the relationships you form are what you walk away with. Those things are better than winning a game any day (winning games is still nice though). Lastly, always remember to say thank you to the people who have helped you to be where you are, and play with everything you’ve got all of the time!
— Maddie Gordon, ‘21, Penn State | PGF All-American Finalist
Glory, thank you so much for teaching me aspects about myself that I never knew could be possible. Prior to Glory, I struggled with confidence on the mound and within myself. The coaches and staff believed in me from the second I stepped onto the field for the first time and taught me to embrace failure, rather than letting it knock me down. The constant support from both my coaches and my teammates allowed me to build my confidence from the ground up and I will forever be grateful for that.
Not only did the Glory organization help me with personal growth, but it also helped me become a better teammate and person. I now know how to support others and simply listen to a teammate when something is wrong. I believe no other organization could have taught me these skills that I learned and applied as well as the glory organization did. I will miss my glory gals and coaches, but I can’t wait to embark on a new adventure and dream of mine that the Glory helped me to achieve. Thank you Glory!!
— Maria Urban, ‘21, Lehigh | PGF All-American Finalist
— Bruce Urban, Glory Parent/Coach 2019-2021, Lehigh Parent
I loved being a part of the Glory Organization! Everyone was always so positive and supportive and really focused on creating a good, positive culture for the players. My teammates are some of my favorite people in the world. There was never any drama with them and they welcomed newcomers to their teams with open arms. I love the coaches, Coach Mertz and Coach Griffith! They created such an amazingly supportive and positive environment for us and I loved playing for them! All the places we went to we were a family and we knew that we would always support each other in anything we did. Just like a family should.
— Kaitlin Beasley Polko, ‘17, Coastal Carolina | MD Gatorade POY | PGF All-American Finalist
I am so thankful for all of the opportunities the Glory gave me. Not only did the organization make me a better player, but they made me understand the values of hard work and family. I wouldn’t be where I am now without the Glory. The friends that I’ve made within the program will stick with me no matter where we are. Coach Mertz, Coach Griffith and Coach Neuhart, thank you for accepting me into the program with open arms and encouraging me to be the best player I could be!
— Victoria Figueroa, ‘18, James Madison | Puerto Rico Jr. Natl Team | PGF All-American
The glory organization will forever hold a special place in my heart. Everyone from the coaching staff, to the families, and every player creating one unit and one heck of a team. Having a team that sets a standard and not letting anyone fall short of their potential, constantly pushing each other to be better. It’s amazing how much I got from this experience.
— Keira Womack, ‘18, East Carolina
I am so grateful God led me to the Glory organization because of the amazing people and family atmosphere. Everyone truly cares for one another. The competitive energy and drive for greatness, created by the team and coaches, made me better everyday. Thank you Coach Mertz, Coach G, and Coach Neuhart! Thank you, Glory!
— Brit Lew, ‘18, Liberty / Georgetown
Coach Mertz, I was just thinking of Glory and how thankful I am to have played for you. And how much your practices have helped me adjust to college practices…especially your 4-hour practices! I miss you and the girls so much, hopefully I can visit a practice when I’m back home.
— Jazmyn Stokes, ‘17, Bucknell
Head Coach / Recruiting Advisor
703-371-3312 / email@example.com
Since the 2017 grad class, 100% of Glory Mertz team alumnae have been recruited to play in college. In 2021, Coach Mertz was ranked #27 club coach in the country by ExtraInningSoftball.com. His teams have produced three Women’s College World Series participants (2021), three National team players (USA, Puerto Rico, Israel), six PGF Regional All-Americans (NE Region) and 13 PGF All American finalists in the region. During his tenure, the team overall GPA is 3.9 which has allowed many players to earn academic scholarships as part of their packages. Excellence in class, and class on and off the field.
A shortlist of team accomplishments:
CHAMPIONS – 18u Triple Crown Summer Nationals (SC ’20)
TOP 25 – PGF Nationals (6 times)
3rd Place – 16u PGF Platinum Nationals (CA ’15) *as 14u/15u split team
5th Place – 18u Louisville Slugger IDT (CO ’19)
9th Place – 18u USAES World Fastpitch Championships (FL ’19)
5th Place – 18u Atlanta Legacy (GA ’17)
CHAMPIONS – 16u Team NJ Summer Showcase (NJ ’16)
17th Place – 14u PGF Premier Nationals (CA ’14)
Runner Up – 16U USA Elite Select SUPER 32 (Las Vegas ’19)
In 2017, the team went 47-6-1 on the national stage and became the youngest all-commit team is VA history prior to the new SEP 1 / junior year rule changes.
Coach Mertz has a great passion for teaching hitting, pitching, defense, base running, speed of play, instinctual play and the mental aspects of the game.
Team Alumnae (Teams played on)
Abbey Gillespie ‘23 • BYU (15-16u)
Gianna Muhaw ‘23 • St. Joseph’s (16u)
Emily Lampela ‘23 • George Mason (15-16u)
Ava Kang ’22 • Yale (14-18u)
Reese Torres ’22 • George Washington (16-18u)
Savannah Nash ‘22 • Saint Francis (18u)
Daniella Lew ’22 • George Washington (16u)
Maddie Gordon ’21 • Penn State (14-18u)
Jaimee Hardy ’21 • Campbell (14-18u)
Katie Jo Moery ’21 • Maine (16-18u)
Maria Urban ’21 • Lehigh (16-18u)
Dani Brown ’21 • Mount St. Mary’s (16-18u)
Bella Smith ’20 • James Madison / Campbell (15-18u) 2021 Women’s College World Series
Makenzie Mason ’20 • UCONN (16-18u)
Kiaris Alvarado-Rojas ’20 • Georgetown (17-18u)
Tori Bowles ’20 • Mount St. Mary’s (16-18u)
Sidney Torres ‘20 • George Washington (18u)
Abby Weaver ’20 • Virginia (18u)
Amy Hills ’19 • Rollins (18u)
Katie Delph ’19 • Morgan State (18u)
Hannah Lalk ’19 • Morgan State / Wisconsin Lacrosse (16/18u)
Kathryn Sandercock ’18 • Florida State (16-18u)
2021 Women’s College World Series; USA National Team; VA Gatorade Player of the Year (’17); MaxPreps Player of the Year (’17); PGF HS All-American
Victoria Figueroa ’18 • James Madison (16-18u)
Puerto Rico Junior National Team; PGF HS All-American
Arizona Ritchie ’18 • Virginia (15-18u)
PGF HS All-American
Ally Kurland ’18 • Penn State / Georgia (9-18u)
PGF HS All-American | #23 retired
Carlie Mertz ’18 • St. Joseph’s / Lake Forest (9-18u)
Keira Womack ’18 • East Carolina (13-18u)
Cait Myers ’18 • Marshall / VWU (16-18u)
Anna Deshaies ’18 • Penn State (16-18u)
PGF HS All-American
Tori Gilbert ’18 • Virginia (13-18u)
Brittany Lew ’18 • Liberty / Georgetown (18u)
Avery Neuhart ’18 • Mount St. Mary’s (12-18u)
Karlye Pallotta ’18 • Bowdoin (18u)
Nicole Kidwiler ’18 • Towson (18u)
Aly Rayle ’18 • Virginia (18u)
Kaitlin Beasley-Polko ’17 • Coastal Carolina (15-18u)
MD Gatorade Player of the Year (’17); USA Today 3rd Team All American (’17); Washington Post All-Met Player of Year (’17)
Jazmyn Stokes ’17 • Bucknell (13-18u)
Raina Cooper ’17 • UAB (14-18u)
Michelle Sullivan ’17 • James Madison (13-18u)
2021 Women’s College World Series
Amanda Nee ’17 • Maine (13-18u)
Abby Nyquist ’17 • Christopher Newport (13-18u)
Sienna Williams ’17 • Radford (9-16u)
Julia Sinnett ’17 • Virginia Wesleyan / Hampton (12-14u)