Grant, Jerpbak Lead Four All-Ivy Softball Honorees, Van Ackeren Earns COY
Kaylee Grant is the first Princeton freshman in 10 years to earn first-team All-Ivy League honors, leading four first-time Tiger honorees while Lisa Van Ackeren was named the Ivy League's Coach of the Year.
Grant, fellow first-teamer senior Skye Jerpbak, second-teamer sophomore Kylee Pierce and honorable mention freshman Keeley Walsh were the four Tigers recognized when the Ivy League released its All-Ivy teams and annual awards Thursday.
Van Ackeren and the four Tigers will help lead Princeton into its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2008 Friday when they take on No. 8 James Madison in Harrisonburg, Va.
In earning her first Ivy League Coach of the Year honor since the award was established last season, Van Ackeren helped guide Princeton to the top of the Ivy South division for the first time in eight years while the Tigers became the first visiting team to win the Ivy League Championship Series since the format was established in 2007 when they won the best-of-three series at Harvard.
Three years ago, in 2013, Van Ackeren became the winningest first-year coach in Princeton softball history when she helped the Tigers to a 27 wins, making her the second-winningest first-year coach in Ivy softball history.
Grant, a first baseman who led the team with 44 hits and 26 RBI and co-led the team with seven home runs, is the first Tiger freshman since Kathryn Welch in 2006 to earn first-team All-Ivy League recognition. Her .331 batting average is the highest of any Tiger who started more than 25 games, and her 47 starts were behind only Danielle Dockx's 48.
Jerpbak, a catcher, earns her first All-Ivy honor after co-leading the team with seven home runs and standing third on the team with 21 RBI and 37 hits. Jerpbak heated up later in the season, getting hits in eight of the team's last 10 games while hitting five of her seven home runs on the season in the team's last nine games entering the NCAA tournament.
The first-team honors are Princeton's first since 2011.
Pierce, an outfielder, played in 39 games and made 25 starts, leading the team with a .333 average. When the team returned from the spring trip to California, Pierce had her strongest stretch of the season, raising her batting average as high as .457 on April 8 during a 16-for-30 stretch that began March 26.
Walsh, who earned honorable mention as a designated player, rebounded from a 1-for-12 start to her career to go 25 for 82 (.305) the rest of the way, going from March 26 through April 24 without going hitless in back-to-back games. During that stretch, she had an eight-game hit streak against Yale, Brown and Penn, going 10 for 28 (.357).
2016 All-Ivy League Honors
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
COACH OF THE YEAR
FIRST TEAM ALL-IVY
SECOND TEAM ALL-IVY^
HONORABLE MENTION ALL-IVY
*unanimous selection, ^expanded due to ties in the voting