Softball Announces Team Awards
Saylors (Easley, S.C.) was dominant in the pitching circle this season for the Cougars and earned the team's MVP as she pitched the most innings and appearances for the Cougars. She maintained a calming presence in the circle which inspired confidence in those around her, even when the team was in a jam. In addition to being named the Cougars' MVP, Saylors was a first-team all-Southern Conference pitcher after leading the league in starts (34) and shutouts (10) while placing third in ERA (1.84) and strikeouts (170).
"Stephanie [Saylors] had a great year and led our team to a fantastic season," said Hoerner. "Her improvements over the last couple of years have helped her become the dominating pitcher she is. Her fearless composure is one of her best attributes."
Lonergan (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and Vaughn (Placerville, Calif.) fully embody the expectations of Cougar softball players and were voted on by their teammates to receive the COUGAR Award. The team's COUGAR Award is an acronym for Competitor, Objective, Unselfish, Gutsy, Accountable, Respectful. The award fully encompasses what the Cougar softball program strives for in each and every endeavor, on and off the field.
"These two players have all of these characteristics and not just sometimes, all the time," said Hoerner. "It's fun to coach these types of players. Lonni and Lizzy have made Cougar softball better not only on the field but off the field and in the classroom as well. They are classy individuals who are very good role models for their peers."
Lonergan was the lone senior on the team and assumed a heightened leadership role as a player the underclassmen and newcomers could go to for advice. Throughout her career, she has battled through numerous injuries which would have probably led many players to quit. She persevered, however, and proved that her passion and dedication to Cougar softball are unmatched.
Vaughn is a consummate teammate and has always been one to keep pushing herself in order to help improve her teammates and team as a whole. She could always be counted on to put forth maximum effort on every play and in every opportunity.
Klicker (Walla Walla, Wash.) and Maples (Corona, Calif.) both had highly influential and successful freshman campaigns and earned themselves a share of the team's Rookie of the Year Award. Their impact did not go unnoticed as the conference's coaches voted both players to the SoCon all-freshman team.
"Hope and Mac played an integral role in cougar softball this year," said Hoerner. "They both stepped in and earned starting roles right away. Mac showed her true leadership behind the plate by taking charge as a freshman and leading our defense. Her clutch hitting was key to our offensive success as well.
"Hope's growth as a pitcher in one year is very rare. Her willingness to learn and improve on a daily basis has helped her to have the year she had. Hope has a grittiness to her that can't be taught. I love her calm but no nonsense demeanor."
Klicker proved her command in the pitching circle as she issued just 22 walks against 141 strikeouts and finished the season ranked seventh in the entire country in walks issued per seven innings. She also displayed her well-roundedness with a .250 batting average and 13 RBIs with nine extra-base hits.
Maples was a wall behind the plate and proved to be a tough hitter to get out, especially down the stretch as she finished the year with 16 hits in CofC's final 12 games including a five-game hit streak in the tournament.