All-BIG EAST Honors for Verdun, Connolly
May 9, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Kirsten Verdun continues to make waves in the world of BIG EAST softball.
Verdun was a unanimous choice for All-BIG EAST First Team and teammate Mary Connolly was named All-BIG EAST Third Team Wednesday night at the conference’s awards banquet at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel.
“It’s definitely an honor, and it’s great to stay consistent,” said Verdun who was the league’s Rookie of the Year and All-BIG EAST First Team last year. “It’s nice that the BIG EAST is recognizing all the hard I work I’ve put in this season.
“I’m grateful for the award and hope it’s a sign of even better things to come.”
Verdun was one of only two unanimous first-team selections after batting .350 in BIG EAST games with five home runs and 14 RBIs. She was also 12-6 in the league with a 1.56 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 121.1 innings.
Conference opponents hit just .196 against the sophomore ace who was chosen as utility-pitcher.
Connolly was the third-team selection at first base after batting .313 in league competition with two home runs and 12 RBIs.
She began the regular season hitting a pinch-hit, walkoff, three-run home run in her first collegiate at-bat and concluded the regular season with this accolade.
"Eug (DePaul coach Eugene Lenti) trusted me in that situation back in Hawai’i,” Connolly said. “The fact that he believed in me is a big reason why I’ve been able to go on and do this well.
“From that moment on, I knew he had confidence in me. During times when I’d go into a little slump, that belief helped sustain me and kept me going.
“I also want to thank Sam (assistant coach Samantha Findlay) for helping me with my hitting. As a former (All-American) first baseman, she was always there to put in extra work with me learning the position.”
Regular-season champion Louisville (50-3, 20-2) led the way with nine players being selected to All-BIG EAST teams. The Cardinals' only BIG EAST losses were to DePaul.
Syracuse senior catcher Kacee Cox was named BIG EAST Player of the Year while Notre Dame sophomore Laura Winter took home the Pitcher of the Year award. Rutgers pitcher Alyssa Landrith was the league’s Rookie of the Year.
DePaul opens the BIG EAST Championship tournament at 9 a.m. Thursday against USF at Notre Dame’s Melissa Cook Stadium.