April 8, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — University of Notre Dame sophomore All-American Karley Wester (Huntington Beach, California/Edison) has been named one of the Top 26 Finalists 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.
Entering its 14th year, the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award recognizes outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the United States.
Wester is the second Notre Dame softball player in the last three seasons to be selected as a finalist for the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award, joining two-time All-American Emilee Koerner in 2013. Wester and Koerner, both sophomores at the time of their selection, are the only two Irish players in the history of the award to earn a finalist nod.
The 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Freshman of the Year and a top three finalist for National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Freshman of the Year consideration last season, Wester began the week as the ACC leader in hits and stolen bases, placing second in batting average, triples and at-bats among other league foes. The 2014 NFCA All-America second team choice also ranked among the top five players in the conference in runs and on-base percentage.
Wester leads all Notre Dame players with a .448 batting average, 60 hits, 39 runs scored, three triples, 21 stolen bases and a .500 on-base percentage in 39 starts in 2015.
This year’s Top 26 Finalists list is comprised of 12 seniors, 11 juniors, two sophomores and one freshman. The student-athletes selected represent 19 NCAA Division I universities and nine athletic conferences. Arizona, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon and UCLA each have two players represented and Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, Florida State, James Madison, Louisiana-Lafayette, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Notre Dame, UCF and Western Kentucky each have one member among the Top 26 Finalists.
Just prior to the start of post-season play, on May 6 the list will be narrowed to the Top 10 Finalists. The Top 3 Finalists will be announced May 20, while the winner of the 2015 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be revealed on May 26 prior to the start of the NCAA WCWS in Oklahoma City.
The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award is voted on by coaching representatives from 10 Division I Conferences in the 15 ASA Regions, members of the media who consistently cover Division I Softball across the country as well as past winners of the award.
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.
2015 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 26 Finalists
AJ Andrews LSU Outfield Senior
Bianka Bell LSU Infield Junior
Allexis Bennett UCLA Outfield Junior
Kristen Brown North Carolina Infield Junior
Ally Carda UCLA Pitcher/Utility Senior
Emily Carosone Auburn Infield Junior
Lauren Chamberlain Oklahoma Infield Senior
Lexie Elkins Louisiana-Lafayette Catcher Junior
Kellie Fox Arizona Infield Senior
Amber Freeman Arizona State Catcher Senior
Megan Good James Madison Pitcher/Utility Freshman
Chelsea Goodacre Arizona Catcher Senior
Sara Groenewegen Minnesota Pitcher Sophomore
Lauren Haeger Florida Pitcher/Infield Senior
Cheridan Hawkins Oregon Pitcher Junior
Alex Hugo Georgia Infield Junior
Miranda Kramer Western Kentucky Pitcher Senior
Haylie McCleney Alabama Outfield Junior
Shelby Pendley Oklahoma Infield/Pitcher Senior
Sierra Romero Michigan Infield Junior
Kelsey Stewart Florida Infield Junior
Janie Takeda Oregon Outfield Senior
Shelby Turnier UCF Pitcher Junior
Lacey Waldrop Florida State Pitcher Senior
Karley Wester Notre Dame Outfield Sophomore
Paige Wilson Georgia Infield Senior