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BIG EAST Softball All-Conference Awards Announced

The 2022 BIG EAST Softball all-conference teams and major awards were released on Wednesday ahead of the BIG EAST Softball Championships Presented by Jeep, which begins Thursday. Creighton’s Kailey Wilson became the first Bluejay to be named BIG EAST Player of the Year, while Alyssa Graves unanimously became the first Butler hurler to win BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year. DePaul’s Maranda Gutierrez took home BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year for the third consecutive season. After winning the conference regular season title, the UConn coaches were honored as the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year.

The All-BIG EAST First Team and Second Team were also named, each consisting of 12 players made up of at least two pitchers, with the remaining spots selected at-large. All-BIG EAST Teams and major awards are selected via a vote of the league’s head coaches who are not allowed to vote for their own players or coaching staffs.

Wilson led the league in several major offensive categories, becoming the first Bluejay to win an individual softball honor since joining the BIG EAST for the 2014 season. The junior led the conference in batting average (.524), slugging percentage (.984), on base percentage (.620), and tied for the lead in home runs (7) and total bases (62). Wilson hit safely in 18 of Creighton’s 22 BIG EAST contests, registering multiple hits in 11 of those games. She finished with the second-highest batting average in a season in Creighton history, the best mark since 1978.

Graves was the ace of the Butler staff throughout the season, guiding them to the No. 2 seed in the BIG EAST Championship. The graduate student led the conference with a 1.12 ERA in league games and a .164 opponent’s batting average while finishing with a 10-0 record in 16 appearances. In those games, Graves allowed more than two earned runs just once. She caught fire at the end of the season, allowing just three earned runs over her final 32.3 innings of work while striking out 34 batters. Graves was one of just two pitchers in the BIG EAST to not surrender a home run during conference action.

Gutierrez anchored DePaul’s strong defense once again at the shortstop position, helping guide the Blue Demons to the most putouts in the league and a .970 team fielding clip. Gutierrez compiled a .961 fielding percentage herself this season in league play, making just three errors in 77 chances.

Hill quickly established herself as not just the top freshman in the BIG EAST, but one of the league’s best players. Her 12 doubles in BIG EAST play set a new league record, breaking the previous record of 10 which was most recently done by 2019 Co-Freshman of the Year Peyton Cody. Hill also led the BIG EAST in hits with 35, the most in a conference season since 2013. Her .449 batting average ranked second in the league, while her 25 RBIs placed her third.

UConn, under third-year head coach Laura Valentino, finished 20-4 in BIG EAST play and earned the regular season title and top seed in the BIG EAST Championship. The regular season title was the Huskies’ first since 1997. UConn ranked second in the league in team batting average (.289), on base percentage (.369), hits (188), runs (145), and led the conference in stolen bases (72). The Huskies also were strong in the circle, as they were one of two teams to finish conference play with an ERA below two (1.99). UConn pitchers limited opponents to a .221 average, and their 194 strikeouts as a staff led the BIG EAST.

Wilson and Graves joined UConn pitcher Elise Sokolsky as the three unanimous selections to the All-BIG EAST First Team. UConn had the most selections to the All-BIG EAST First team with three, while Butler, DePaul and Villanova tied for a second with two each. DePaul had the most total All-BIG EAST selections with six selections across the two teams.

2022 BIG EAST Softball Awards

BIG EAST Player of the Year

Kailey Wilson, Creighton, Jr., DP

BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year

Alyssa Graves, Butler, Gr.*

BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year

Maranda Gutierrez, DePaul, Gr., SS

BIG EAST Freshman of the Year

Taylor Hill, Seton Hall, Fr., SS

BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year

UConn

All-BIG EAST First Team

Lauren Fey, Butler, Sr., 2B

Alyssa Graves, Butler, Gr., P*

Sami Barnett, UConn, R-Sr., IF

Briana Marcelino, UConn, Gr., IF

Elise Sokolsky, UConn, Fr., P*

Kailey Wilson, Creighton, Jr., DP*

Brooke Johnson, DePaul, Jr., 1B

Kate Polucha, DePaul, Gr., LF

London Jarrard, St. John’s, Fr., SS

Taylor Hill, Seton Hall, Fr., SS

Megan Kern, Villanova, Sr., SS

Paige Rauch, Villanova, Gr., P

All-BIG EAST Second Team

Bri Avery, Butler, Sr., OF

Reese Guevarra, UConn, Gr., OF

Alexis Hastings, UConn, Fr., OF

Maranda Gutierrez, DePaul, Gr., SS

Sarah Lehman, DePaul, Gr., P

Tori Meyer, DePaul, Jr., RF

Anna Wohlers, DePaul, Fr., 3B

Mae Forshey, Georgetown, Sr., C

Jacque Harrington, Providence, So., C/UTIL

Ashly Colonnetta, Seton Hall, Jr., 2B

Shelby Smith, Seton Hall, Jr., P.

Chloe Smith, Villanova, Jr., 3B

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