Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and USF Earn 2013 Softball Major Awards


Laura Winter Interview     Sara Nevins Interview     
Tori Nirschl Interview      Deanna Gumpf Interview

TAMPA, Fla. - The BIG EAST Conference announced its 2013 softball regular-season awards Wednesday evening at the BIG EAST Softball Championship banquet at the Embassy Suites at USF. Notre Dame junior Laura Winter was named BIG EAST Player of the Year while USF junior Sara Nevins took home BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year honors. The BIG EAST Rookie of the Year award went to Pittsburgh's Tori Nirschl and the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year honor was awarded to Notre Dame. Awards were voted on by the league's head coaches, who are not permitted to vote for their own players.


Winter, who was the 2012 BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year, earned Player of the Year accolades this season on the strength of her offensive performance. She led the league in five major categories in conference play. She hit nine home runs with 37 RBI and a .922 slugging percentage, leading the league in all three categories. She also ranked fourth overall with a .453 batting average. In the circle, the junior led the league in wins (14) and walks allowed (4) and also struck out 115 batters to rank third among all pitchers in conference play. Winter was named the BIG EAST Player of the Week once and earned Pitcher of the Week honors three times. The pitcher/first baseman also became the first player in Notre Dame's history to win both USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week and Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I National Player of the Week honors.


Nevins ranked in the top-two in four major pitching categories during BIG EAST play. The junior finished in a tie at the top of the league with 125 strikeouts. She also ranked second in ERA (1.18), wins (13) and opposing batting average (.166). Nevins was named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week on two occasions and finished 13-3 in conference games. The junior was the ace on a USF pitching staff that compiled a 1.32 overall ERA, which ranked second in the nation as of April 28.


Nirschl led the Panthers in almost every offensive category in league play during her first collegiate season. The freshman hit .324 (23-for-71) with a .634 slugging percentage and .415 on-base percentage, all team-highs. She also led the team in RBI (13), runs scored (13), hits (23), home runs (5), and walks (10). The freshman was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll twice during the season.


Notre Dame's coaching staff, consisting of head coach Deanna Gumpf and associate coaches Kris Ganeff and Lizzy Lemire, was selected 2013 Coaching Staff of the Year after the Irish registered a 41-12 overall record and 19-3 BIG EAST mark. The Irish took two of three games from No. 9/9 Louisville in the series finale to claim their third regular-season title in four years as well as the No. 1 seed at the BIG EAST Championship. The 2013 season was a milestone year for Notre Dame. The Irish won their 1,000th game in program history at Georgetown April 3 and Gumpf won her 500th career game in 12 seasons as Notre Dame's head coach against Connecticut April 23.


Along with its major award winners, the BIG EAST also announced its 2013 All-BIG EAST Teams. The 12 players on the first team represented four schools: Georgetown, Louisville, Notre Dame and DePaul. The Cardinals led all schools with four first-team honorees including two unanimous selections, first baseman Alicja Wolny and outfielder Jordan Trimble. DePaul claimed three first team winners, Notre Dame and USF placed two, and Georgetown had one. DePaul's Kirsten Verdun and USF's Nevins and Kourtney Salvarola were all unanimous selections.


2013 All-BIG EAST Teams

First Team

P        Laura Winter, Notre Dame

P        Sara Nevins, USF *

C        Shikara Lowe, Georgetown

1B      Alicja Wolny, Louisville *

2B      Katie Keller, Louisville

3B      Katelyn Mann, Louisville

SS      Kourtney Salvarola, USF *

OF      Samantha Dodd, DePaul

OF      Jordan Trimble, Louisville *

OF      Emilee Koerner, Notre Dame

U/P     Kirsten Verdun, DePaul *

DP/U   Mary Connolly, DePaul


Second Team

P        Caralisa Connel, Louisville

P        Rachel LeCoq, Louisville

C        Amy Buntin, Notre Dame

1B      Jasmine Watson, Syracuse

2B      Maria DeLuca, Seton Hall

3B      Kenshyra Jackson, USF

SS      Whitney Arion, Louisville

OF      Kim Silva, Connecticut

OF      Hannah Kiyohara, Louisville

OF      Jessie Bryant, Providence

OF      Shirley Daniels, Syracuse

U/P     Danielle DeStaso, Seton Hall

DP/U   Marissa Guches, Connecticut


Third Team

P        Tori Free, St. John's

P        Lindsey Richardson, USF

C        Maggie Ruckenbrod, Louisville

1B      Micaela Arizmendi, Notre Dame

2B      Jenna Simon, Notre Dame

3B      Jackie Reed, St. John's

3B      Corinne Ozanne, Syracuse

SS      Brittany Hammer, Seton Hall

OF      Alexandria Anttila, Georgetown

OF      Kelsey Thornton, Notre Dame

OF      Tori Nirschl, Pittsburgh

U/P     Megan Hyson, Georgetown

DP/U   Cassidy Whidden, Notre Dame


Big East Player of the Year

Laura Winter, Notre Dame


Big East Pitcher of the Year

Sara Nevins, USF


Big East Rookie of the Year

Tori Nirschl, Pittsburgh


Big East Coaching Staff of the Year

Notre Dame


*unanimous selection