Posted: June 17, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Last month Lisa Sweeney put the finishing touches on one of the finest careers in Lehigh and Patriot League history. This week, Sweeney will be showcased on the national level when she appears in Sports Illustrated as one of six athletes highlighted in the publication’s “Faces in the Crowd” section in the issue dated June 22, 2009.
Sweeney re-wrote the softball record books during her time in the Brown and White. The Lumberton, N.J. native was a four-time first team All-Patriot League selection and became the first Patriot League softball student-athlete to earn the league’s Pitcher of the Year Award four times. She also was the league’s Player of the Year in 2008, becoming the first player in Patriot League history to win Player and Pitcher of the Year honors in the same season.
A four-time NFCA All-Region selection and a 2008 third team Academic All-America, Sweeney established Lehigh and Patriot League career records with 94 victories and 928 strikeouts. She threw four no-hitters, including a perfect game versus Army in the 2006 Patriot League tournament. An accomplished hitter, Sweeney finished with a .353 career batting average and clubbed a school-record 23 career home runs.
This past season, Sweeney went 23-10 with a 2.15 ERA and 241 strikeouts in the pitcher’s circle, while chipping in a team-best seven homers and 36 RBI to go along with a .360 batting average. Sweeney led the Mountain Hawks to an eleventh straight Patriot League regular season championship and their fifth tournament title in the last six years. For her efforts in the postseason, Sweeney was named Patriot League tournament MVP for the third time in four years.
On the national level, Sweeney led Lehigh to a 5-6 record in NCAA Regional appearances in 2006, 2008 and 2009 including regional final appearances as a freshman and senior. This past season, Sweeney guided the Mountain Hawks to a 38-18-1 record and wins over Florida A&M and Texas A&M in the NCAA tournament before Lehigh was eliminated by eventual national runner-up Florida.
Sweeney joins a select group of former Lehigh student-athletes who were featured in the pages of Sports Illustrated, including former football standout Ronald Jean in 1999, and wrestling greats Mark Lieberman (1979) and Mike Caruso (1967). Lieberman was the last Lehigh student-athlete to be recognized in the “Faces in the Crowd” section as he appeared in the October 31, 1977 issue after winning a gold medal at the Pan-American Games in Mexico City.
This week’s edition of “Faces in the Crowd,” featuring Sweeney, can be viewed here.