NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Temple softball's Stephanie Pasquale has been named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year in voting conducted among the conference's head coaches, announced today by the league office. Jocelyn Dearborn of Fordham has been named the A-10 Player of the Year, Sara Plourde of Massachusetts has been tabbed the Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive year, and Bridget Orchard of Fordham earned the Coach of the Year title.
Pasquale, a catcher from Pompton Lakes, N.J., leads the Owls in batting (.365), slugging percentage (.556), on base percentage (.404), hits (46) and RBI (33). The freshman has struck out just five times this year, the 17th best mark in the nation. She is sixth among conference players, and tops among freshmen, in batting average. Her 33 RBI is fourth in Temple's single-season history.
The fourth-seeded Owls will face fifth-seeded and host Charlotte at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11, in the opening game of the 2011 Atlantic 10 Championship.
Junior Rachel Knable represents Temple on the A-10 Second Team, as does freshman Sarah Prezioso, who was also named to the All-Rookie Team along with Pasquale. At second base and shortstop, respectively, Knable ranks fourth on the team with 34 hits while Prezioso ranks third with 39. Prezioso's eight homeruns lead the team in 2011 and is tied for the best homerun total by a freshman in Temple history.
Senior Kristen Marris was named Honorable Mention as a pitcher. Marris, TU's ace on the mound is 16 strikeouts shy of setting a TU single-season record. This season, she has tossed two no-hitters, becoming only the third player in Temple history to do so. In just two years, Marris is already in seven top-10 career pitching lists. In addition to her domination on the mound, the leadoff hitter is also second on the squad with a .346 batting average.
Dearborn enters this week's Atlantic 10 Championship ranked second in the league offensively with a .400 batting average overall and .451 average in conference play. The New Milford, Pa., senior leads the league in triples (8), runs (44), hits (69), total bases (14) and slugging percentage (.818). She is also second in the A-10 with 16 homeruns. The third baseman was twice named A-10 Player of the Week this season.
Plourde ranks second in the nation in strikeouts and strikeouts per seven innings, going into the week of the Championship. The four-time A-10 Pitcher of the Week enters the tournament leading the conference with a 1.22 ERA overall, 26 wins, and 463 strikes. The junior from Bristol, Conn., has booked four no-hitters, three against conference opponents, and threw a perfect game against La Salle this season. She held opponents to a league-best .135 batting average. She also leads the league in shutouts (13) and complete games (35).
Joining Dearborn and Plourde on the All-Conference first-team are Charlotte's Briana Gwaltney and Tenaya Tucker, Lauren Nacke of Dayton, Fordham's Samantha Pellechio and Jen Mineau, Maureen Wells of St. Bonaventure, Bernadette Moran and Dana Parks of Saint Joseph's, and Saint Louis' Kristin Nicoletti.
The All-Conference second-team consists of Charlotte's Katy Hackett and Whitney Williams, Dayton's Kathleen Maloof, Fordham's Jamie Labovick, Massachusetts' Cyndil Matthew, Monica Aguilar and Erin Gallagher of Saint Joseph's, St. Bonaventure's Brooke Frey and Knable, Pasquale and Prezioso of Temple.
Joining Pasquale on the All-Rookie team is Charlotte's Kalie Lang; Dayton's Alysha Isaacson, Fordham's Gabby Luety, Chelsea Lenhart of George Washington, Massachusetts' Tiffany Meeks and Lindsey Webster, Ashley Snider of St. Bonaventure and Temple's Prezioso.
The Honorable Mention squad consisted of Marris, Kyllie Magill of Massachusetts and teammate Lindsey Webster.
Now in her tenth season, Orchard earns her fourth Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year nod, second in two years, after guiding the Rams to a 38-17 overall record and 16-4 mark in league play. Over the last seven seasons, Orchard has led Fordham to more than 200 wins, including nine-straight appearances in the A-10 Championship and three showings in the Finals. A four-year standout at Villanova from 1994-97, Orchard still holds three Wildcat records, and led Villanova to the ECAC Championship title in 1996. Named to the first team All-Big East, she was also a three-time All-Big East Academic Team member, and was ranked second among the toughest players in the nation to strike out. She received her degree in communication arts from Villanova in 1997, and earned a Masters of Education from Temple in 2001.