May 16, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame softball sophomore Emilee Koerner and junior Laura Winter were each named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Great Lakes all-region first team, the NFCA announced Thursday. The pair became the 73rd and 74th NFCA all-region choices (45 first team selections) in program history.
Koerner (Tustin, Calif./Foothill) earned all-region honors for the first time in her Notre Dame career after leading the BIG EAST Conference with a .479 batting average, which ranked third in the NCAA, at the end of the regular season. She was also in the top-20 nationally in doubles per game (fifth, 0.40), on-base percentage (15th, .545) and slugging percentage (18th, .847) after 53 regular season starts.
Koerner, a top 10 finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, was selected to the all-BIG EAST first team May 8 after pacing the conference with a .492 batting average, 26 runs and eight doubles in 22 league starts.
Winter (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) copped NFCA all-region recognition for the third time after being named to the second team in 2011 and 2012. The 2013 BIG EAST Player of the Year led the conference in six major statistical categories during league play, drilling a league-best nine home runs and 37 RBI in 64 at-bats.
Winter posted a conference-high 14 wins in the circle while walking only four batters in 96.1 innings, striking out 115 in league play. The 6-1 right-hander earned a total of four BIG EAST weekly awards (one player of the week, three pitcher of the week) during the regular season, and became the first Notre Dame student-athlete to win both USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week and Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I National Player of the Week honors.
Winter was the eighth Irish player to earn BIG EAST Player of the Year honors during the team’s 18 years as a conference member, and was the first and only Notre Dame primary pitcher to win the award.
The all-region teams were chosen by NFCA member coaches from each region and all the honorees will now be eligible for selection to one of three 2013 NFCA Division I All-American teams. In addition, conference pitchers and players of the year not selected to the regional teams were added for All-America consideration.
The 2013 NFCA Division I All-America teams will be announced May 29.
Notre Dame opens play in the Lexington (Ky.) Regional of the NCAA Championship Friday at 5 p.m. against Virginia Tech on ESPN3.