OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – In all 54 players from 32 different institutions were selected to one of three 2014 NFCA Division I All-American teams, the Association announced on Wednesday.
This year a change was made in the NFCA’s Division I awards process as three all-region teams, instead of the traditional two, were selected in each of 10 different regions. That provided more opportunities for student-athletes to receive honors as well as have a chance to earn potential All-American status from the Association.
To view the complete 2014 NFCA Division I All-American Teams, please visit the following LINK.
The five conferences that are participating at this year’s Women’s College World Series were well represented as an impressive 39 of the 54 total selections, including 16 of the 18 student-athletes on the first team, were garnered by either the Southeastern Conference (14), the Pac-12 Conference (13), the Atlantic Coast Conference (five), the Big 12 Conference (four) or the Sun Belt Conference (three).
Oregon, Auburn, Washington and Notre Dame each led the country with three total selections to the prestigious squads, while Florida State joined Oregon, Alabama and UCLA in leading the nation with two student-athletes tabbed to the NFCA All-American First Team.
Leading off a three-pitcher contingent on the 2014 first squad was Florida State’s Lacey Waldrop. Selected as the 2014 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year and the ACC Pitcher of the Year, the junior from Chester, Va., helped lead the Seminoles to the WCWS by posting an NCAA Division I-leading 38 wins to go along with the third-best ERA in the nation at 1.01, 27 complete games and 282 strikeouts over 257.1 innings of work.
Joining Waldrop as hurlers on the first squad were Oregon’s Cheridan Hawkins and Alabama’s Jaclyn Traina. A top 10 finalist for the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award and the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, Hawkins registered a 33-4 overall mark with a miniscule 1.55 ERA, 23 complete games, 11 solo shutouts and the fourth-most strikeouts in the NCAA with 313 over 230 frames. Traina twirled the Crimson Tide to the Southeastern Conference regular-season title as well as back to the WCWS as a senior by putting up a 23-3 overall record with a 2.02 ERA, 19 complete games and 182 K’s over 190.1 innings of work. For her efforts, Traina was selected as the SEC’s Pitcher of the Year as well as a top 10 finalist for USA Softball National Player of the Year.
This year’s first team choice behind the plate was Taylor Edwards of Nebraska. Now both a two-time NFCA All-American selection and first-team All-Big Ten Conference inclusion, she batted at a .346 clip during the 2014 campaign, registering team-leading totals of 58 runs scored, 41 walks and 18 HR’s to go along with 43 RBIs and 127 total bases.
A true speedster that ranked second in the nation in runs scored per game at 1.22, the first baseman representative on this year’s first team was Hallie Wilson of Arizona. A two-time first team All-Pac-12 choice, the Santa Ana, Calif., product hit .414 with 73 tallies, 30 extra-base hits, including 17 home runs, 44 walks and knocked in 62 runs while posting a .535 on-base percentage.
The Division I home run leader and a first-team All-SEC selection, Georgia’s Alex Hugo made the first-team cut at second base after equaling the SEC single-season record for homers with 25. Only a sophomore, she hit .341 with a team-leading 57 runs scored, an .856 on-base percentage and 64 RBIs while adding nine doubles, 46 walks and a .486 on-base percentage.
A top 10 finalist for the USA Softball Player of the Year trophy reaped first team All-American honors at third base. Oregon’s Courtney Ceo has proven to be a stalwart at the position this season for the top-ranked Ducks. The senior won the Pac-12 batting title and is currently leading the nation with a .492 batting average. She owns 64 tallies, 15 extra-base hits, 17 stolen bases, a sparkling .532 on-base percentage and 35 RBIs.
Michigan’s Sierra Romero, a two-time NFCA All-American as well as the 2014 Big Ten Player of the Year, made the cut as the first team shortstop. A top three finalist for the USA Softball Player of the Year trophy, she ranked second in the nation in batting average at .491, while adding 74 runs scored, 11 doubles, and team-highs with 18 home runs, an NCAA-best 66 walks and 72 RBIs.
Representatives from the SEC and Pac-12 Conferences made up this year’s first team outfield as honorees included Alabama’s Haylie McCleney, Auburn’s Branndi Melero and Washington’s Victoria Hayward.
McCleney, a top 10 finalist for the USA Softball National Player of the Year trophy, helped power the Crimson Tide to both the SEC regular-season title and a WCWS berth. The sophomore hit a league-best .451 with 67 runs scored, 11 doubles, nine HR’s, 34 stolen bases, 49 walks, 41 RBIs and the fourth-highest on-base percentage in the NCAA at .567. Chosen first-team All-Southeastern Conference as a junior, Melero topped her squad with a league-best 78 RBIs in 2014, rating sixth in all of NCAA Division I in RBIs per game at 1.26. She hit at a .404 clip overall with 55 runs scored, 12 doubles, 15 home runs, a .737 slugging percentage and a .518 slugging percentage. A first-team All-Pac-12 choice for the second straight season and a Top 50 Watch List inclusion for the USA Softball National Player of the Year award, Hayward rated fifth in the Pac-12 in batting average at .426 with 47 runs scored, 10 doubles, 28 stolen bases, 31 walks and 24 RBIs with a sparkling on-base percentage of .527.
The top utility/pitcher in the country for 2014 was UCLA’s Ally Carda. The junior was selected as a top three finalist for the USA Softball National Player of the Year trophy as well as the Pac-12 Player of the Year after posting a stellar 32-5 record from the circle with a 1.90 ERA and 230 strikeouts over 220 innings of work. She also hit at a .394 clip with 26 extra-base hits, including 13 home runs, and a team-leading 55 RBIs.
Carda’s teammate with the Bruins, Stephany LaRosa, earned this year’s first-team nod in the DP or Utility/Non-Pitcher slot. Now a two-time NFCA All-American as well as a three-time first team All-Pac-12 choice, the junior batted .367 for the powerful UCLA offense with 29 tallies, 22 extra-base hits, including 14 home runs, 46 walks and 45 RBIs.
The five at-large selections on the first team began with at-large/shortstop Maddie O’Brien of Florida State. The ACC Player of the Year and a top 10 finalist for the USA Softball National Player of the Year, she powered the Seminoles to the WCWS by hitting .431 with 61 tallies and 17 doubles, while rating second in the NCAA in both home runs with 24 and in RBIs-per-game with 83 RBIs over 62 contests.
Another at-large choice on this year’s first team was Tennessee shortstop Madison Shipman. The SEC Player of the Year as well as a top 10 finalist for the USA Softball National Player of the Year trophy, the senior powered the Lady Vols all season long by hitting a team-best .417 with 56 tallies, 16 doubles, 18 home runs, 13 stolen bases and 54 RBIs, all while slugging at an .833 clip.
Also on the first team as an at large choice was Baylor’s Whitney Canion. The redshirt senior pitcher was in the circle for 239.2 total innings, helping her team get back to Oklahoma City by tallying a 31-10 record with a 1.40 ERA, 24 complete games and 296 total strikeouts. A top 25 finalist for the USA Softball National Player of the Year award, she was also selected as the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year.
Granted an at-large nod at third base was Oklahoma’s Shelby Pendley. Over 61 contests, the two-time NFCA All-American junior led the Big 12 Conference with a .429 batting average, 79 hits, 64 runs scored, 74 RBIs, 18 doubles, 17 HR’s and 152 total bases. She hit .360 with 16 tallies and seven extra-base hits during league play.
Florida’s Kelsey Stewart nabbed the final first team at-large spot. The sophomore second baseman from Wichita, Kan., earned her first NFCA All-American nod following a first-team All-SEC caliber campaign during which she rated among the league leaders with a Gator-leading .435 batting average, 63 runs scored, 14 doubles, 34 stolen bases and 55 RBIs.