May 8, 2014
GREENSBORO, N.C. - University of Notre Dame outfielder Karley Wester was named the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Softball Freshman of the Year, as announced on Thursday morning by the league office prior to the start of the ACC Championship. Wester was one of five Irish players to claim all-ACC citations, including three that received first team recognition.
Sophomore infielder Micaela Arizmendi and senior pitcher Laura Winter joined Wester on the all-ACC first team, tying regular-season champion Florida State for the most players selected to the conference's top team. Arizmendi earned all-conference honors for the second straight season after being named to the all-BIG EAST third team as a freshman, while Winter is set to finish her Notre Dame career as the fifth player in program history to be chosen to an all-conference first team in four consecutive seasons. Winter was also the 2012 BIG EAST Conference Pitcher of the Year, and claimed BIG EAST Player of the Year honors in 2013.
Junior All-American Emilee Koerner claimed an all-conference medal for the second straight year, after being chosen as the lone Notre Dame representative on the all-ACC second team. Junior catcher Cassidy Whidden brought home her second consecutive all-conference nod, rounding out the Irish award winners as a member of the all-ACC third team.
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.
A 2014 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I National Freshman of the Year Top 10 finalist, Wester paced all ACC players with a .461 batting average, 71 hits, four triples and 25 stolen bases overall during the regular season. The Huntington Beach, Calif. native found her niche after becoming the leadoff hitter for Notre Dame, the NCAA team leader (.367) in batting average, at the start of April, batting .565 (39-for-69) with three triples, a 620 on-base percentage, 11 stolen bases and 22 runs scored in 20 games.
Wester was the first Notre Dame player ever to earn an ACC weekly award, being tabbed as the ACC Player of the Week on Feb. 17 following her second career collegiate tournament against then No. 23 Louisville and Jacksonville at the Jacksonville University Tournament.
Arizmendi finished second behind Wester in league batting average in ACC games with a .508 (32-for-63) final tally in only 19 starts. Arizmendi led all ACC counterparts in home runs (9), slugging percentage (1.111), RBI (33) and total bases (70) during conference contests. The Huntington Beach, Calif. native also had the second-most doubles (9) in league play, and ranked third in on-base percentage (.543) and hits (32).
A three-time ACC Pitcher of the Week winner during the regular season, Winter finished in the top three performers during conference play in ERA (2.39), batting average against (.225), strikeouts (99) and wins (13) in 16 league appearances (13 starts). Winter's 43 strikeouts looking against ACC opponents, and 77 overall punch outs without a swing, led all pitchers in the conference. The native of San Diego, Calif. also enjoyed a steady year at the plate against ACC foes, batting .386 with six doubles, five home runs and 22 RBI in 20 games.
Koerner earned second team accolades after tying for second place in the ACC with nine doubles in conference play, smashing a league-leading 22 two-baggers overall this season to set a Notre Dame single-season program record. Koerner also ranked fourth among league peers with a .424 conference batting average, a .818 slugging percentage and 28 runs scored in her 21 ACC starts. The Tustin, Calif. native closed the regular season with a team-high 24-game on-base streak, and was chosen as the ACC Player of the Week for the first time in her career on May 5.
Whidden completed her second consecutive all-conference campaign with the third-best slugging percentage (.820) in ACC play, finishing one home run off the conference lead with eight home runs in league competition. Whidden added three doubles, 16 RBI and 17 runs scored in 20 ACC starts. The Parrish, Fla. native has established career-highs of seven doubles, 11 home runs, 34 RBI and 31 runs scored in her first 45 starts of 2014.
All awards are voted on by the league's 11 head coaches, who are not permitted to cast votes for their own players.
2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Softball Regular Season Awards
ACC Player of the Year
Maddie O'Brien, Florida State
ACC Pitcher of the Year
Lacey Waldrop, Florida State
ACC Freshman of the Year
Karley Wester, Notre Dame
ACC Coach of the Year
Lonni Alameda, Florida State
2014 All-ACC Teams
P Lacey Waldrop, Florida State
SS Maddie O'Brien, Florida State
OF Karley Wester, Notre Dame
1B Micaela Arizmendi, Notre Dame
OF Courtney Senas, Florida State
SS Kristen Brown, North Carolina
P Emily Weiman, North Carolina State
P Laura Winter, Notre Dame
P Sydney O'Hara, Syracuse
2B Maddie Lionberger, Georgia Tech
SS Ashley Thomas, Georgia Tech
P Jessica Burroughs, Florida State
OF Emilee Koerner, Notre Dame
SS Renada Davis, North Carolina State
1B Candice Beards, Maryland
1B Jenna Kelly, North Carolina
SS Lauren Gaskill, Virginia Tech
OF Aquilla Mateen, North Carolina
C Tory Speer, Boston College
OF Carly Thea, Pittsburgh
1B Jasmine Watson, Syracuse
1B Victoria East, Florida State
C Cassidy Whidden, Notre Dame
OF Shirley Daniels, Syracuse
OF Tori Nirschl, Pittsburgh
2B Kylie McGoldrick, Virginia Tech
P Nicole D'Argento, Boston College
OF Megan Cooley, Boston College
3B Briana Hamilton, Florida State
C Katey Smith, Virginia Tech
-- Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant