Jan. 28, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame senior co-captain and two-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American Emilee Koerner and sophomore NFCA All-American Karley Wester have each been named to the “Watch List” for the 2015 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced on Wednesday.
Notre Dame has been represented on the top 50 preseason watch list in four straight seasons, with NFCA All-Americans Dani Miller (2012) and Amy Buntin (2013) joining four-time NFCA all-region first team selection Laura Winter (2014) and Koerner (2014) in previously earning the distinction.
Entering its 14th year of existence, the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award recognizes outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the United States.
A native of Tustin, California, Koerner claimed NFCA All-America (third team) and all-region first team honors for the second straight year in 2014, following a stellar 2013 sophomore season that landed her not only as a second team NFCA All-American but also as a top 10 finalist for the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award. The Irish center fielder ranked third among all ACC players with a .433 batting average and was the NCAA leader with 28 doubles in 2014, 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 also ranked 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 set by Nina Lindenberg of Fresno State in 1996. Koerner 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 native of Huntington Beach, California, Wester compiled one of the greatest freshman seasons by a Notre Dame player in program history in 2014. Along with being an NFCA All-America second team selection and a top three finalist for the NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award, Wester led all ACC hitters with a .455 batting average, 81 hits, four triples and 26 stolen bases. She also set the Irish pace with a .517 on-base percentage and six outfield assists in 54 games played, along with 25 multi-hit games. A total of 45 of Wester’s 81 hits were credited as infield singles, and the Irish slap hitter also added two doubles and 28 RBI to her offensive statistics.
Tabbed to both the 2014 NFCA Mid-Atlantic all-region and all-ACC first teams, Wester paced the ACC in three major statistical categories during league play last season, batting a conference-best .521 (37-for-71) with 37 hits and three triples in 21 ACC starts. She added the second-best on-base percentage (.575) in the conference, stealing the third-most bases (10) in ACC competition.
The preseason top 50 watch list included 26 seniors, 18 juniors and six sophomores, with freshmen ineligible for consideration. Freshmen can be considered for the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award once they officially compete at the collegiate level. Student-athletes from 32 NCAA Division I universities and 13 athletic conferences comprised the preseason watch list.
The Top 25 finalists for the 2015 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced on April 8.
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