May 7, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — A sterling career in conference play for University of Notre Dame softball senior co-captain and two-time All-American Emilee Koerner has reached the ultimate peak. The most offensively consistent and impactful league player during the final two months of the 2015 regular season, Koerner was named the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Player of the Year on Thursday in advance of the opening round of the ACC Championship tournament in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Joining Koerner on the all-ACC first team was sophomore All-American Karley Wester, junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi and senior Katey Haus. Rounding out the Notre Dame all-conference selections were sophomore Rachel Nasland and freshman Morgan Reed on the all-ACC second team.
Notre Dame and regular-season ACC champion Florida State were tied with six all-conference honorees each, with the four Irish first team choices surpassing the three of the Seminoles. Votes cast by the 11 head coaches in the ACC softball membership determined all major conference award winners and the all-ACC team selections.
Koerner is the first major award winner for the Irish in the ACC since the program joined the conference prior to the 2014 season. She became the 14th conference player of the year selection, and 11th different player overall to receive the distinction, in the 27-year history of the Notre Dame softball program.
Koerner joined former Irish standouts Laura Winter (2013) and Heather Johnson (2011) as Notre Dame player of the year recipients in the past five seasons, with Winter and Johnson both honored by the BIG EAST Conference in their respective tenures. Koerner is just the third sitting All-American in program history to win conference player of the year accolades, along with Jarrah Myers (2002) and Andrea Loman (2003), and is the only multi-time Notre Dame All-American at the time of player of the year voting to receive the top conference honor.
One of the most remarkable midseason surges in Notre Dame softball lore carried Koerner toward her historic ACC campaign. After a 2-for-15 start to conference play at the plate in her first five ACC contests, the Irish center fielder exploded with a .589 batting average (33-for-56) over her final 18 conference starts.
Koerner ultimately led all ACC players with a .493 average, 35 hits and 28 runs scored in 23 league games. She added the third-most total bases (60) and doubles (8), and the fourth-highest slugging percentage (.845), on-base percentage (.537) and fourth-most RBI (26) in the ACC as the primary number two batter in the Notre Dame lineup.
Koerner tied Wester for the Irish lead with 11 multi-hit games during conference play, and was the only Notre Dame player to record four hits during an ACC game this season (twice, against Boston College on April 12 and North Carolina on April 26). Koerner added six games with multi-RBI, including tying a Notre Dame single-game program record with seven runs batted in against North Carolina (April 26), tied another Irish all-time single-game mark by scoring four runs at Boston College (April 12), and reached base safely in her final 18 conference games in 2015.
In 85 starts split between the ACC and BIG EAST conferences, Koerner was a career .435 batter with 113 hits, 30 doubles, 15 home runs, 70 RBI, a .738 slugging percentage, an even .500 on-base percentage and 91 runs scored in conference play at Notre Dame. Her first team all-ACC selection was the third career all-conference citation for Koerner, along with a first team all-BIG EAST nod in 2013 and all-ACC second team recognition in 2014.
Haus continued to add to her All-America candidacy as a senior with her first career all-conference medal. A two-time ACC Player of the Week selection (Feb. 9 and April 6), Haus batted at a .371 clip with six doubles, five home runs, 24 RBI, a .671 slugging percentage, a .458 on-base percentage and 18 runs scored in 23 conference starts. The Notre Dame team leader with seven multi-RBI games against conference foes, she ranked among the top 10 players in the ACC in slugging, runs, RBI, doubles, home runs, and total bases (47). Playing every conference inning of the season at third base, Haus made only one error in 56 total chances (.982 fielding percentage).
Arizmendi earned an all-conference scroll for the third straight season, repeating as an all-ACC first team performer after logging the best cumulative offensive statistics during league play last season. The Notre Dame first baseman led all ACC players with 12 doubles during conference games, and added top 10 totals in total bases (51, fifth), hits (28, seventh) and slugging percentage (.689, ninth). Arizmendi tied Haus with the second-most multi-hit games by an Irish player in ACC starts (10), and contributed an addition five multi-RBI outings.
Wester was tabbed to the top ACC squad for the second straight season after copping 2014 ACC Freshman of the Year honors last season. The Notre Dame slapper tied senior co-captain Jenna Simon for the top ACC stolen base total (9) while sharing the top triples mark (2) with eight other players, scored 25 runs to finish just behind Koerner for the conference lead, and added the second-most hits among all ACC players with 33 base knocks in league play. Wester also finished in the top 10 of the ACC in batting average (.424, fifth) and on-base percentage (.511, eighth).
Nasland enjoyed a breakout second season in the circle that included four separate ACC Pitcher of the Week citations (Feb. 24, March 16, March 23 and March 30), tying ACC Pitcher of the Year Lacey Waldrop of Florida State for the most in the conference. Nasland posted an 8-4 record and a 3.33 ERA in 14 appearances (13 starts) against ACC foes, hurling eight complete games and three shutouts. She walked 28 and struck out 73 batters in 75.2 innings, and threw her first career no-hitter during a 12-0 Notre Dame win in five innings at No. 9/10 Florida State on March 15 to highlight the conference slate.
Reed was the second Notre Dame freshman in as many years, joining Wester, to earn all-ACC accolades during her inaugural season in an Irish uniform. A total of four Irish freshmen, Reed, Wester, Arizmendi (BIG EAST third team, 2013) and Winter (BIG EAST first team, 2011), have been tabbed to all-conference teams in the past five seasons. Reed batted .351 with six doubles, 18 RBI, a .544 slugging percentage, a .431 on-base percentage and 12 runs scored in 22 conference games (20 starts) in 2015. She also added her first career home run during Notre Dame’s dominant victory at Florida State in March.
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2015 ACC Individual Award Winners
Player of the Year — Emilee Koerner, Notre Dame
Pitcher of the Year — Lacey Waldrop, Florida State
Freshman of the Year — Jessica Warren, Florida State
Coach of the Year — Lonni Alameda, Florida State
All-ACC First Team
Renada Davis, Sr., SS, NC State
Lacey Waldrop, Sr., P, Florida State
Jessica Warren, Fr., INF, Florida State
Emilee Koerner, Sr., OF, Notre Dame
Kristen Brown, Jr., SS, North Carolina
Taylor Wike, Fr., INF, North Carolina
Morgan Klaevemann, Fr., OF, Florida State
Emily Weiman, Sr., P, NC State
Karley Wester, So., OF, Notre Dame
Kelsi Jones, Sr., OF, Louisville
Jenna Modic, Jr., P/INF, Pitt
Maryssa Becker, So., P/1B, Louisville
Micaela Arizmendi, Jr., INF, Notre Dame
Whitney Arion, Sr., SS, Louisville
Katey Haus, Sr., INF, Notre Dame
All-ACC Second Team
Corinne Ozanne, Jr., INF, Syracuse
Tyler Ross, So., OF, NC State
Maddie O’Brien, Sr., SS, Florida State
Amber Parrish, Sr., C/INF, North Carolina
Maddie Lionberger, Jr., 2B, Georgia Tech
Rachel Nasland, So., P, Notre Dame
Ellie Cooper, So., INF, Florida State
McKayla Taylor, Fr., INF, Pitt
Jessica Burroughs, So., P, Florida State
Maddi Doane, Fr., OF, Syracuse
Morgan Reed, Fr., INF, Notre Dame
Lauren Walker, Sr., INF, North Carolina
Kylie McGoldrick, Sr., 2B, Virginia Tech
Shelby Pickett, Jr., C/INF, Pitt
Megan Cooley, Jr., OF, Boston College