May 15, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A total of seven University of Notre Dame softball players have been selected to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Mid-Atlantic all-region teams, the NFCA announced on Thursday. The seven Irish honorees were the second-most among all teams nationally, while the five Notre Dame players chosen to the first team tied No. 8 Washington for the most in the country.
Notre Dame has now earned a total of 81 all-region accolades from the NFCA since the 1992 season.
Senior pitcher Laura Winter (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo), junior All-American outfielder Emilee Koerner (Tustin, Calif./Foothill), junior catcher Cassidy Whidden (Parrish, Fla./St. Stephens), sophomore infielder Micaela Arizmendi (Huntington Beach, Calif./Mater Dei) and NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year Top 10 finalist outfielder Karley Wester (Huntington Beach, Calif./Edison) were all tabbed to the NFCA Mid-Atlantic all-region first team. The five first team all-region selections broke the program record of four that was previously set in 2009 and 2011.
Junior infielders Katey Haus (Oceanside, Calif./Vista) and Jenna Simon (Granger, Ind./Penn) rounded out the Notre Dame honorees as members of the NFCA Mid-Atlantic all-region second team. Haus and Simon were the first multiple Irish second team all-region selections since the 2012 season, when three Notre Dame players earned the nod.
Winter added her fourth career NFCA all-region citation with her second consecutive first team honor, after being named to the Great Lakes second team in 2011 and 2012. The 2014 all-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) first team and all-ACC Championship performer has enjoyed one of her best career seasons in the circle, posting a 27-5 record with a 2.27 ERA and 251 strikeouts over 206.2 innings pitched entering NCAA Regional play. Winter ranks in the top five of all four categories among ACC pitchers in 2014.
The 6-1 right-hander broke a pair of historic Irish pitching records earlier in her senior campaign, shattering the former program wins record of 96 by closing conference championship play with a 110-32 career mark. Winter’s 1,061 strikeouts are also the most in Notre Dame history, breaking the longstanding record of 907 career punch-outs by two-time NFCA All-American Terri Kobata that had stood since 1996.
Koerner claimed NFCA all-region first team honors for the second straight year, following a stellar 2013 sophomore season that landed her as a second team NFCA All-American and top 10 finalist for the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award. The Irish center fielder ranks third among all ACC players with a .419 batting average following last weekend’s ACC Championship. She is also the conference, and NCAA, leader with 24 doubles, to go along with 67 total hits, three triples, 11 home runs, 45 RBI, a .813 slugging percentage, a .482 on-base percentage and 60 runs scored, and ranks second on the Irish with 19 multiple-hit games and 14 multi-RBI games this season.
Koerner’s 24 doubles and 60 runs thus far in 2014 have each established Notre Dame single-season records. She is the all-time Irish career leader in doubles (57), and her .396 career batting average is the most among all players in program history who have logged at least 300 at-bats. Koerner was named to this 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.
Whidden secured her first career all-region scroll as one of the best hitting catchers in the ACC, batting a combined .338 with seven doubles, 11 home runs, 34 RBI, a .639 slugging percentage, a .413 on-base percentage, seven stolen bases (in 10 attempts) and 32 runs scored. After rehabbing the entire offseason following a severe knee injury suffered in the opening game of the 2013 NCAA Lexington Regional against Virginia Tech last May, Whidden has started 48 of Notre Dame’s 50 games in 2014, setting career-highs in eight major offensive categories.
Whidden earned all-conference accolades for the second straight year by being named to the all-ACC third team, hitting .377 with eight home runs, 16 RBI and 17 runs scored in 20 conference starts. The Notre Dame backstop has also recorded only one error in 296 total chances behind the plate, establishing herself as one of the premiere catchers on defense in the NCAA.
Arizmendi enjoyed a breakout season as the Notre Dame first baseman, coming off a 2013 rookie campaign when she was named to the all-BIG EAST third team. The lefty slugger is second in the ACC with 58 RBI and a .826 slugging percentage, third with 16 doubles, and ranks fifth in the conference with a .389 batting average and 15 home runs. Arizmendi holds the Irish team lead in home runs and slugging percentage, and has chipped in a team-high 20 multi-RBI games, along with the third-most multi-hit games (18), this season.
An all-ACC first team choice, Arizmendi led all league hitters with 33 RBI and a 1.111 slugging percentage, chipping in the second-highest batting average (.508) and home run total (9), and the third-most hits (32) and on-base percentage (.543) in only 19 conference starts in 2014.
Wester has continued to add to her resume during one of the greatest freshman seasons by a Notre Dame player in program history. Along with being a finalist for NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year, Wester leads all ACC hitters with a .451 batting average, 74 hits, four triples and 25 stolen bases. She has also set the Irish pace with a .513 on-base percentage and six outfield assists in 50 games played, along with 22 multi-hit games. A total of 42 of Wester’s 74 hits this season have been credited as infield singles, and the Irish slap hitter has added two doubles and 28 RBI to her offensive statistics.
Wester led the ACC in three major statistical categories during league play, 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.
Haus picked up her first career all-region citation in the midst of her best offensive season at Notre Dame, as the Irish third baseman has already established career-highs in batting average (.353), hits (53), doubles (14), RBI (48), on-base percentage (.409) and runs scored (28). Haus’ RBI total ranks second among all Notre Dame players, while her doubles clip is the third-most among Irish hitters. She has also chipped in 12 multi-hit games and 13 multi-RBI contests this season.
Simon also became a first-time all-region performer following a career year at the plate, batting a personal-best .366 with 10 RBI, 18 stolen bases in 21 attempts and 36 runs scored through her first 50 games. Simon has contributed 11 multi-hit efforts to the Notre Dame offensive attack, and 38 of her 48 hits thus far this season have been credited as infield singles. She also boasts a .942 fielding percentage in 121 chances at second base.
No. 19/20 Notre Dame (39-11) opens NCAA Championship play on Friday at 3 p.m. (PT) against Long Beach State in the first game of the Los Angeles Regional at Easton Field on the campus of UCLA in Los Angeles.
— Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant