Dec. 12, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Entering its second season in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), the University of Notre Dame softball team will draw from the wealth of experience from its upperclassmen to achieve the high level of success that the competitive nature of the league commands.
Leading the way for the Irish on the field in 2015 will be a pair of standout seniors, two-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American Emilee Koerner (Tustin, California/Foothill) and 2014 NFCA Mid-Atlantic all-region second team selection Jenna Simon (Granger, Indiana/Penn), as both were officially named team captains on Friday.
Koerner and Simon are the 52nd and 53rd different captains during Notre Dame’s 27 seasons at the varsity level. The tandem is the 14th different captaincy pair to represent Irish softball, and the first since Amy Buntin and Kelsey Thornton fulfilled the role as seniors in 2013.
“Jenna and Emilee are strong, confident leaders who are a great fit to lead this team,” Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf said. “They both bring different qualities that will compliment each other and raise the bar of expectations for those around them. Jenna has been one of the hardest workers on our team over the past four years, without question. She has a calm, cool and collected manner. Emi gets it done on the field and has a proven track record of excellence.
“With both of these girls leading the team, and the help of the entire senior class, we have some of the best leadership this program has ever seen,” Gumpf added.
Koerner adds the role of team captain to an already stellar softball rÃƒÆ’Â©sumÃƒÆ’Â© at Notre Dame. She earned NFCA Division I All-America second team honors as a sophomore in 2013, and became just the seventh multi-time All-American in program history by being tabbed to the NFCA All-America third team last season. Koerner was also a top 10 finalist for the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award in 2013.
“It’s an honor to have been selected by my teammates to help lead this team with Jenna,” Koerner said. “I am very grateful for the opportunity and I will do my best to give whatever this team needs of me.”
Koerner ranked third among all ACC players with a .433 batting average in 2014. She was the NCAA leader with 28 doubles, to go along with 74 total hits, three triples, 11 home runs, 51 RBI, a .825 slugging percentage, a .495 on-base percentage and 65 runs scored. Koerner placed second on the Irish with 21 multiple-hit games and 15 multi-RBI games last season.
Koerner’s 28 doubles and 65 runs scored in 2014 each established Notre Dame single-season records, with the doubles mark falling just one shy of tying the all-time NCAA record of 29 doubles in an individual campaign. She became the Irish career leader in doubles (61) during her junior season, and her .401 career batting average is the highest among all players in program history who have logged at least 300 at-bats. Koerner was named to last season’s all-ACC second team after batting .424 with nine doubles, five home runs, 20 RBI and 28 runs scored in 21 conference starts.
A marketing major in the top-ranked Mendoza College of Business, Koerner is a current participant in Notre Dame’s cutting edge Rosenthal Leadership Academy.
Simon earned her first all-region accolade at Notre Dame in 2014 following a career year on the diamond. A constant for the Irish at second base throughout her first three seasons, Simon has started 157 of the past 168 Notre Dame games dating back to the 2012 campaign.
Simon is the first Notre Dame softball captain ever to hail from the Michiana area, and just the third Indiana native to hold the honor, joining Jenny Kriech (2002, Indianapolis) and Megan Ciolli (2005, Terre Haute).
“I am honored to be selected as team captain by my teammates,” Simon said. “We have a great group of players on this team and I’m excited to see the amazing things we will do in the 2015 season.”
Simon enjoyed a breakout season at the plate as a junior, batting a career-best .359 with 52 hits, 10 RBI, 20 stolen bases in 23 attempts and 39 runs scored in 54 starts. Simon contributed 12 multi-hit efforts to the Notre Dame offensive attack, and 42 of her 52 hits were officially credited as infield singles. She added a career-high .947 fielding percentage in 131 chances at second base.
An information technology major and international business minor in the top-ranked Mendoza College of Business, Simon joins Koerner as a softball participant in the Rosenthal Leadership Academy.
Notre Dame opens its 2015 schedule on Feb. 6-8 at the So Cal Collegiate Classic, with games split between Los Angeles and Fullerton, California.
For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, visit www.und.com/softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter and at Instagram.com/notredamesoftball, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.
— Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant