CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- For the second time in three years, two standouts are worthy of America East’s top honor in softball as Binghamton University’s Jessica Phillips (Syracuse, N.Y./Cicero-North Syracuse) and Boston University’s April Setterlund (Torrance, Calif./South Torrance) were named America East Co-Players of the Year to highlight the league’s 2011 annual award winners. The Terriers, who will be the No. 1 seed and host for the upcoming conference championship, also took home the three other major awards. Holli Floetker (Fountain Valley, Calif./Ocean View) was tabbed the league’s Pitcher of the Year, Chelsea Kehr (Florence, N.J./Florence) earned Rookie of the Year honors and their coach, Shawn Rychcik, was tabbed Coach of the Year to cap the honorees, which were announced Wednesday afternoon along with the all-conference squads, and voted on by the league’s seven head coaches.
Phillips, a sophomore outfielder, followed up her Rookie of the Year campaign with one of the top offensive seasons of any player in the nation. Also a first-team all-conference selection, Phillips leads America East and ranks fifth nationally in on-base percentage (.588), seventh in slugging (.897) and 12th in batting average (.444). A two-time league Player of the Week this season, Phillips ranks first among America East leaders with 14 home runs and 35 extra-base hits to go with 41 RBIs. She also has 17 steals in 19 attempts and has played flawless defense in the outfield, not committing an error in 51 chances.
Setterlund, a senior outfielder, earned her second straight Player of the Year award and became the 11th player in league history to earn first-team all-conference honors all four years of her career. She ranks sixth nationally in on-base percentage (.574 ) and is second among America East leaders in hitting (.427), slugging percentage (.750), hits (53) and runs scored (41). Tied for the league lead in doubles with 13, Setterlund, a two-time America East Player of the Week this season, also ranks second in steals with 27 thefts in 30 tries and did not commit an error in the outfield while adding four assists.
Floetker, a freshman hurler, is just the second freshman to ever take home America East Pitcher of the Year honors. The league leader amongst starting pitchers with a 1.87 ERA, Floetker ranks second among league leaders with 12 wins against just four losses and struck out 95 batters while walking only 26 in 105 innings of work. A four-time America East Pitcher of the Week choice, Floetker was at her best in conference play, going 7-1 with a 1.31 ERA.
Kehr, a freshman first baseman, also earned second-team all-conference honors after leading the league with 44 RBIs. She’s batting .344 with a .664 slugging percentage, good for fourth among leaders. Kehr, who earned America East Rookie of the Week honors three times, also has 20 extra-base hits, including eight doubles and 10 homers, and has scored 25 runs.
Rychcik, who is in his seventh season as head coach of the Terriers, led his squad to a league-best 32-16 record and the program’s second straight regular-season title en route to winning his second straight Coach of the Year award. The Terriers, who lost five starters off last season’s championship squad and run out five freshmen in their everyday lineup, lead America East in team hitting (.298), runs per game (5.3 rpg) and team ERA (2.40).
Joining Phillips, Setterlund and Floetker on the All-Conference first-team are pitcher Brittany MacFawn (Orlando, Fl./Timber Creek) from Albany, catcher Deannie Plemon (Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge) from Binghamton and first baseman Gina Mason (El Camino, Calif./Sacramento) from Albany, both repeat first-team selections. UMBC’s Lauren Brummell (Hanover, Va./Hanover) is the second baseman, Albany’s Andrianna Walraven (Thompson Ridge, N.Y./Pine Bush) is the shortstop, University of Maine’s Terren Hall (Bucksport, Maine/Bucksport) is the third base choice for the second straight year and teammate Kali Burnham (Courtice, Ontario/Trinity College School) rounds out the outfield selections. University of Hartford’s Nicole Springer (New Britain, Conn./Kingswood Oxford) is the top designated player for the second straight year and UMBC’s Katie Ferguson (North East, Md./North East/Cecil CC) is the utility player.
Accompanying Kehr on the second team are pitchers Erin Schuppert (Atlantic Beach, Fla./D.U. Fletcher) from Boston U. and Stephanie Weigman (Elkridge, Md./Archbishop Spalding) from UMBC, catcher Amy Ekart (Berthoud, Colo./Berthoud) from Boston U., second baseman Lisa Cutrona (Staten Island, N.Y./Tottenville) from Binghamton, shortstop Lauren Maloney (Las Vegas, Nev./Spring Valley) from Stony Brook University, third baseman Megan Volpano (Salinas, Calif./Stevenson School) Boston U., outfielders Meghan Tucker (Kirkwood, N.Y./Windsor) from Binghamton, Jayme Mask (Grafton, Mass./Grafton Memorial) from Boston U. and Julia Culotta (Street, Md./North Harford/Tennessee) from UMBC, designated player Meghan McLain (Orrington, Maine/Brewster) from Maine and utility player Jessica Combs (Hammonton, N.J./Hammonton) from Stony Brook.
Eight freshmen that made an all-conference team were also all-rookie selections. Combs, Cutrona, Ekart, Floetker, Kehr, MacFawn, McLain and Volpano were joined by Binghamton’s Jessica Bump (Windsor, N.Y./Windsor), Boston University’s Brittany Clendenny (Gainesville, Va./Battlefield) and UMBC’s Jessica Warner (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown).
Twenty-eight All-Conference and All-Rookie honorees will compete for the 2011 America East Softball Championship, a double-elimination tournament, beginning on Thursday, May 12 at BU Softball Field on the campus of Boston University. Top-seeded Boston U. and fourth-seeded UMBC will meet at 1 p.m. while No. 2 Albany and No. 3 Binghamton will play at 3:30 p.m. The conference champion will be crowned on Saturday, May 15, and will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Softball Championship.