FRISCO, Texas — Accolades started rolling in for the McNeese softball team as senior Alanna DiVittorio was named the 2014 Southland Conference Player and Hitter of the Year Tuesday in conjunction with the release of the all-conference teams. The league's head coaches and sports information directors voted for the team.
DiVittorio, a native of Harahan, is the first Cowgirl to earn both player and hitter of the year honors since former standout Heather Moreaux won both honors in 2000. She is the second Cowgirl to be named player of the year and third to be named hitter of the year. DiVittorio became the 12 th overall player in the history of the SLC to earn both honors in the same season. The centerfielder broke a combined seven school and conference records and led the league in runs scored (57), stolen bases (44), walks (45), and a .537 on-base percent. She was also second in the SLC with a .401 batting average and sixth in hits with 61.
Sophomore Jamie Allred was named Pitcher of the Year after posting a 25-7 overall record and a 15-2 conference record. She is the first McNeese player to be tabbed conference pitcher of the year since Angela Harrison in 1994. The Cowgirl ace from Hallsville, Texas, broke the single season wins record and was named conference pitcher of the week five times during the regular season.
In conference play, Allred led the league in shutouts with seven and was second in strikeouts with 121. She pitched 112.1 innings while holding opponents to a league-leading .170 batting average. Allred made 17 starts and registered a 1.00 earned run average. On the season, Allred posted a 25-7 record with three of her wins coming against nationally ranked teams (No. 7 Alabama, No. 8 Texas A&M, No. 21 Alabama-Birmingham). She led the conference with a 1.50 ERA, 204.2 innings pitched and was second in strikeouts (195).
Head coach Mike Smith received Coach of the Year honors for the second consecutive year after leading the Cowgirls to their fourth Southland Conference regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in this week's conference tournament. Smith, who is in his third year at the helm of McNeese, becomes the first McNeese coach to win the honor twice and is the fifth SLC coach to win back-to-back honors. The last coach to win the honor in consecutive seasons is former Southland member, Texas State's Ricci Woodard (2001, 2002). McNeese posted a 20-6 mark in conference play, marking the first time the Cowgirls reached 20 wins in league play since 2010. McNeese's 38-15 overall record marks the sixth consecutive season the Cowgirls have reached the 30-win mark.
Joining DiVittorio and Allred on the first team is junior catcher Ashley Modzelewski. Modzelewski led the Cowgirls with 11 home runs, 43 RBI and a .558 slugging percent while ranking third with 46 hits. She ranks third in the conference in RBI and fourth in home runs. DiVittorio is making her fourth appearance on the all-conference team while Modzelewski is appearing for the third time.
Named to the second team is junior leftfielder Lauren Langner and sophomore utility player Emily Vincent.
Langner, a native of Pearland, Texas, leads the Cowgirls with 63 hits, 11 doubles, four triples 12 sacrifice hits and is tied for a team-high .988 fielding percentage. She is second on the team with a .371 batting average, 38 runs scored, a .416 on base percent, and nine stolen bases.
Vincent is a native of Sulphur, who has been named to the team for the second straight season. Vincent is tied for a team high with 11 doubles and is second on the team with 32 RBI and 22 walks. She has a .304 batting average and a .408 on-base percent.
Rookies Rachel Smith and Marisa Taunton are third team selections after both players made a huge impact in their first collegiate season.
Smith, who hails from Baytown, Texas, is 8-4 on the season and led the league with a 0.71 ERA in conference games only. She hurled 85.2 innings, struck out 70 batters and collected four shutouts.
Taunton, a native of Beaumont, Texas, moved into a starting role during the season. She tied for second on the team in triples and is third with eight stolen bases. Taunton has a .372 batting average and produced the Cowgirls' longest hitting streak of the season (13 games).
Senior third baseman Kim Kennedy and sophomore second baseman Taylor Goree were named to the honorable mention team.
The Moss Bluff native, Kennedy, is a first time all-conference pick. She leads the team with nine hit-by-pitches and is third on the team in sacrifice hits. She is fourth on the team with a .477 slugging percent and a .371 on base percent. Kennedy has the third longest hitting streak this season at eight games.
Goree, a Lake Charles native, is also a first time all-conference selection. She is tied for third on the team with 10 doubles and is fourth with a .301 batting average and 44 hits. Goree has 23 RBI and has stolen seven bases.