Six sign NLI’s at Sacred Heart


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Six student athletes from Sacred Heart signed their National Letters of Intent on Thursday afternoon to play collegiate sports.

Martha Balthasar signed her NLI to play softball at UB. Martha is the starting pitcher for the Sharks, and in the 2019 season she finished with a 2.24 ERA while pitching a complete game nine times with three shutouts. She was an All-Catholic selection for the last two seasons.

“I love the coaches, I love the campus, it’s such a familiar place for me,” Martha Balthasar said. “It’s home, I love the Bills, so there’s really no place else I’d rather be. It’s just a great feel at UB and I really like it.”

Gianna Fazzolari signed to play softball at Canisius. In her junior season, Gianna played in 15 games and finished the season with a commanding .462 batting average. The catcher had 24 hits, 21 RBI’s, and 7 home runs.

“The coach is so nice, I’ve known her for a long time, so we just had that connection since I was younger,” Gianna Fazzolari said. “It was a dream of mine to play for her and be on her team.”

Siobhan Ryan signed her NLI to play basketball at the University of Richmond. In her junior season with the Sharks, Siobhan averaged 22 points a game, 2.1 assists a game, and 8.9 steals a game, and she was also the captain of the team. She is the reigning Monsignor Martin Class A Basketball Player of the Year and made All Western New York second team in 2019. Each year that Siobhan played on the team, Sacred Heart advanced to Catholic States, and they won it her sophomore year. Siobhan is on track to break the all-time scoring record at Sacred Heart.

“The coaching staff recruited me at a previous school and they were one of my top coaches, then when they went to Richmond I went on a visit there and I fell in love with the school,” Siobhan Ryan said. “The team is great and the location I really like, it’ll be a change here from the cold weather in Virginia, but it’s a change I’m ready to take on.”

Abby Ruggerio signed to play hockey at Cornell University. She has played on the Buffalo Regals team since she was 8. She has been committed to Cornell since she was a freshman in high school.

“When I walked on campus, it felt like home,” Ruggerio said. “The coaches and the girls were just like family. Yes they’re not going to be there when I’m there, but to be only three hours away from home is like a dream come true.”

Rory Schaeffer signed her NLI to play soccer at St. Francis University. She was a team captain for her junior and senior seasons, and as a defender her senior year, she scored one goal. For the last two years, Rory was first team All Catholic, and she was named All Western New York Honorable Mention in 2019.

“I want to do physical therapy and I went to the campus and it was everything I wanted and more,” Schaeffer said. “They have a great department for physical therapy, their soccer program matches no other in my opinion, and I love the community there.”

Jackie Klawon committed to attend the College at Brockport to play field hockey. She’s the only three-sport athlete in the class of 2020 at Sacred Heart. Along with field hockey, Jackie plays ice hockey and lacrosse.

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