May 7, 2009
Sacred Heart sophomore Jen Russell (Seymour, CT) was named to the All-Northeast Conference first team after a vote by the league's head coaches. Co-Head Coaches Elizabeth "Bippy" Luckie and Pam London won the NEC Coach of the Year award after guiding the Pioneers to their NEC playoff berth. Taylor Froelich (Garden Grove, CA), Courtney Lee (Camarillo, CA), and Amanda Bradley (Langley, BC) all earned second team honors.
Luckie and London are now in their 21st season coaching at their alma mater and have compiled 417 wins. Luckie earns her first NEC Coach of the Year award after earning that same distinction four times in the Pioneers Division II era in the New England Collegiate Conference (1990, '91, '92, '95). The Pioneers finished the season tied for third in the NEC at 11-7. Sacred Heart's conference record has improved each of the last four seasons as they finally broke into the postseason in 2009.
Russell finished 2009 with a conference best 1.58 ERA earning 15 wins and tossing five shutouts en route to her first team selection. In conference competition the hard throwing right hander's ERA fell to 0.95 while holding hitters to a stingy .197 batting average. She ranked third in the NEC striking out 163 batters in 191 innings of work in 2009. Russell was the driving force in the Pioneers strong finish that propelled SHU into the playoffs going 4-0 in the team's last four NEC games.
Center fielder and leadoff hitter Froelich earned her spot on the All-NEC second team after leading the Pioneers in numerous offensive categories including batting average, slugging percentage, runs scored, doubles, and home runs. The California native is hitting .406 against league opponents and slugged .696 in NEC contests. Froelich also notched 11 doubles, one triple, six homers, and went 4-4 in stolen base attempts in 2009.
Another sophomore, Lee, joins Froelich on the second team after following up her freshman campaign with another solid season. Lee crushed NEC pitching with a .410 average and slugged .541. The Pioneer first baseman displayed her speed in 2009 swiping 12 bases and only being thrown out twice. Lee also posted a solid on base percentage of .438 and a fielding percentage of .986, committing just five errors all season.
Rounding out the Pioneer selections to the second team was Bradley, who batted primarily from the designated player role. Bradley hit .333 against NEC pitching and tallied six doubles and 11 RBI in 2009. Bradley put up a .368 slugging percentage and a .371 OBP as a fixture in the heart of the SHU order, starting all 18 conference games.
The Pioneers are set to make their division one postseason debut tomorrow afternoon against Robert Morris. Game time is set for 12:15 pm in Queens, NY on the campus of St. Johns University.