Posted: May 9, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – One day after placing a league-best nine players on the All-Patriot League teams, members of the Lehigh softball program earned three more awards on Wednesday, as the league handed out its softball major awards. Junior centerfielder Kate Marvel was named the league’s Player of the Year, while sophomore Lisa Sweeney earned Pitcher of the Year accolades for the second straight year. Head coach Fran Troyan was named Co-coach of the Year, after guiding the Brown and White to a ninth straight Patriot League regular season title.
The Patriot League’s leading hitter with a .404 average, Marvel was recently named to the All-League first team for the third straight year. The Mountain Hawks’ leadoff batter and primary table-setter, Marvel has found her way on base in a variety of ways in 2007. She has smacked 55 base hits, good for second in the league, including seven doubles, a pair of home runs and eight triples. Marvel leads the Patriot League in triples, runs scored (35), slugging percentage (.618) and on-base percentage (.500). She leads the nation in triples per game at 0.17, and her 26 bases on balls are a Lehigh single-season record.
Marvel is the second Lehigh player to earn Player of the Year honors, with Kim Miller ’96 earning the honor in 1995 and 1996. No stranger to winning league awards, Marvel was the league’s Rookie of the Year in 2005 and the Patriot League softball Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2006.
Sweeney became the first Lehigh hurler to collect the Pitcher of the Year award in consecutive years and her selection marked the seventh time a Lehigh pitcher captured the award. Sweeney and Emily Ling ’05 are the only two-time winners of the award.
After her record-shattering freshman campaign in 2006, Sweeney continued her impressive work in the circle in her sophomore campaign. Sweeney appeared in 27 games, and had a league-best 18-5 record, while also coming out of the bullpen to record three saves. She ranks second in the league in both earned run average (1.54) and strikeouts (134) and held opponents to a .174 batting average.
In league play, Sweeney was even tougher, compiling a 9-1 record and miniscule 0.70 ERA. Sweeney led the Patriot League in wins, ERA and strikeouts during league games. She has thrown four career no-hitters
Troyan shares Coach of the Year honors with Colgate’s Vickie Sax after guiding the Mountain Hawks to a ninth consecutive Patriot League title. At 33-16-1 overall, Lehigh is the only school in the league that has a winning overall record. The Mountain Hawks also boast a 17-1 record in league games, including a current 17 game winning streak against league opponents. This is the third Coach of the Year honor for Troyan, who also won the award in 1997 and 2005.
The final league award, the Rookie of the Year, went to Lafayette shortstop Christina Giambrone.
Lehigh looks to get back to the NCAA Regional tournament for the fourth straight year as the Mountain Hawks welcome Army, Colgate and Lafayette to Kaufman Field for the Patriot League tournament. The Mountain Hawks posted a 9-1 record against the other three teams in the tournament and for the second straight year, the top seeded Brown and White will open this double-elimination tournament against fourth seeded Army. Lehigh has defeated Army in the championship round in each of the last three tournaments.
During the regular season Lehigh led the Patriot League in batting (.313 team avg. - 16th nationally), pitching (2.32 team ERA) and fielding (.964). The Mountain Hawks have won the last nine regular season titles, and have won 14 overall. Lehigh has won the Patriot League tournament eight times, including each of the last three seasons. The Brown and White have made four NCAA Regional appearances, and if they win this weekend’s tournament will return to the NCAA Regionals for the fourth straight year.
History indicates that pitching is the key to success in college softball, but this year Lehigh has built a formidable offensive attack to complement the pitching tandem of Sweeney and freshman Tiffany Curtis. The Mountain Hawks, led by Marvel (.404-2-21) and senior Lauren Haney (.352-4-40), rank 16th nationally with a .313 team batting average. Lehigh batted .390 as a team during league play, outscoring its Patriot League opponents 130-25 in 18 league games.
The Patriot League tournament gets underway Thursday from Lehigh’s Kaufman Field. The host Mountain Hawks will face No. 4 Army in game one at 2:00 pm, with No. 2 Colgate battling No. 3 Lafayette in game two at 4:00 pm.
Games three, four and five are slated for Friday, beginning at 11:00 am, with the winner’s bracket game between the winners of Thursday’s contests. The championship round featuring game six and, if necessary, game seven is set for noon on Saturday.
All of Lehigh’s Patriot League tournament games will be broadcast online at lehighsports.com, with streaming powered by Yahoo! Sports. Coverage for Thursday’s Lehigh-Army game begins at 1:45 with the pregame show, featuring the Fran Troyan Report.