BENNINGTON, Vt. – The National Collegiate Athletic Conference (NCAA) posted its final statistics reports and national rankings for the 2017 Division III softball and women’s lacrosse seasons on Tuesday, and a pair of the included categories saw the Southern Vermont College name listed at the top.
SVC softball junior Shea Wilson (Mesa, Ariz.) tied for being the statistical champion as one of the hardest players in the country to strike out while the Mountaineer women’s lacrosse team scooped up more ground balls per game than any other DIII team with 30.93.
Wilson did not strike out at all through the entire 2017 season—connecting with the ball in each of her 65 at bats during the campaign. To be eligible for the national ranking, players must register at least 2.0 at bats per game played and see action in at least 75 percent of their team’s games. There were seven other players around Division III who could not be struck out while meeting the ranking criteria.
Not only did Wilson avoid striking out, but she was also able to get on base with the swing. She turned in a .369 batting average—recording 24 hits with four of those being doubles.
“This is a huge honor for Shea!” exclaimed first-year SVC head coach Paige Gage. “I'm so happy she got recognized for putting the ball in play every at bat this season. It is very hard for a player to go through the whole year without striking out; not only did Shea do that, but she ended the season with the second-highest batting average on our team. She was our most reliable hitter this year.”
The women’s lacrosse team narrowly edged Penn State Abington for the ground ball title as the Nittany Lions finished the year with 29.14 scoops per game. The Mountaineers made tremendous improvements in the particular facet of the game from prior years—helping them with ball possession; in 2016, SVC grabbed 21.83 ground balls per game after collecting just 20.93 per match in 2015.
“This is a great honor for the Southern Vermont College woman's lacrosse program,” said third-year SVC head coach Thomas L. Otero. “These awards just do not happen; there is a reason for our success. What makes this special is the fact that our entire preseason—and much of our early regular season—takes place in the gym; it is a very unforgiving surface to learn on, let alone excel at.”
Helping the Mountaineers sit atop the category was senior Mel Orrell (Gloucester, Mass.) who finished the year with 6.79 ground balls per game of her own; that saw her rank third individually in all of Division III—coming in less than one per contest behind the national leader (7.67). Fellow senior Lauren Nesshoever (Chittenden, Vt.) also made the final rankings, sitting at 139th in the country with 3.14 ground balls per game.
“Mel was one of the most tenacious, aggressive, and fundamentally-sound players I have ever coached at the skill of picking up the ground ball,” said Otero. “Her speed, techniques, and ‘I'm never going to lose’ attitude separated her from all competitors.
“Lauren was also an exceptional player for us this season,” Otero continued. “She not only contributed, but she excelled in all aspects of the game. Lauren was one of our most consistent players in picking up ground balls; her speed, tenacity, and stick skills contributed greatly to her success.”
This spring’s stat champions are the first for SVC since the men’s volleyball team tallied the most digs per set in 2012 with 13.08.
Former Southern Vermont Statistical Champions:
Men's Volleyball Team: 2012 – Most Digs Per Set (13.08)
Dave Gage: Baseball 2012 – Most Hit By Pitches Per Game (0.80)
Hershey Canta: Women’s Volleyball 2011 – Most Service Aces Per Set (1.08)
Kayla Whitman: Softball 2009 – Most Stolen Bases Per Game (1.3)
Nick Harrington: Men’s Basketball 2007-08 – Most Rebounds Per Game (15.4)
Elias Skiff: Men’s Soccer 2007 – Most Saves Per Game (16.73)
Nick Harrington: Men’s Basketball 2006-07 – Most Rebounds Per Game
Israel Nery: Men’s Soccer 2006 – Most Saves Per Game
Melissa Peckham: Women’s Soccer 2005 – Most Saves Per Game
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