Four Lady Tigers Earn All C-USA Softball Honors
May 10, 2006
IRVING, Texas - Following an inaugural season in which it finished above .500 at 28-26 and missed making the C-USA Championship by just a half game, the Memphis softball team saw four players earn All-Conference honors when the league office unveiled its 2006 postseason softball awards today. Juniors Bridgette McNulty and Cara Stiles were named to the All-Conference Second Team, while Leila Dolfo and Kimmi Hayden were named to the All-Freshman Team.
The four selections to the All-Conference teams gave Memphis the most all-league players outside of teams that finished in the top-four in the final conference standings.
"I am extremely exited for Memphis to have its first All-Conference softball players," said Coach Windy Thees. "For us to have four players chosen in our first season is a great accomplishment. It is a credit to our girls and all of the hard work they put in."
McNulty was the Lady Tigers' top all-around offensive threat throughout the inaugural season, leading the team in seven offensive categories, while ranking in the top-seven in C-USA in each of those fields. Starting all 54 games at thirdbase, the Phoenix, Ariz., native ranked second in the league in homeruns (12), slugging percentage (.683), and total bases (110), while sitting third in doubles (15), fourth in RBI (42) and runs scored (40), fifth in batting average (.354) and seventh in on-base percentage (.442). Each of those numbers, except batting average, topped the U of M squad, as McNulty was second to Stiles in that category. In addition to her offensive prowess, the thirdbaseman was extremely solid in the field, leading the team in assists with 101 from the hot corner.
After leading the conference in hitting for a majority of the season, Stiles tailed off slightly at the end, but retained the fourth spot in the league in batting average, while also ranking in the top-five in runs, hits and steals. A starter in all 54 games in centerfield, the Hixson, Tenn., native's .358 average led the Lady Tigers, with her 63 hits tying for third in the league, her 40 runs tying with McNulty for fourth in the league and her19 steals ranking fifth in the league. Both the hit and steal totals led the squad, while the runs scored tied with McNulty for the team lead.
"I am proud of Bridgette and Cara for all of their accomplishments," said Thees. "They both had amazing seasons, and their incredible numbers speak for themselves."
Though the U of M had a number of freshman play integral roles during its first season, Dolfo and Hayden posted stellar numbers in their first collegiate campaigns.
Spending time at shortstop, rightfield and pitcher, Dolfo started in 52 games and tied for the team lead in walks with 25, while ranking second on the team and seventh in C-USA in both RBI (38) and doubles (12). The Chula Vista, Calif., native was also second on the team in slugging percentage at .484 and had the second-highest batting average in conference games with a .292 clip. In addition, Dolfo sported a 3-5 record with a 3.20 ERA in the circle and picked up Memphis' first-ever C-USA victory in a game-three win at UAB.
Hayden, who started all 54 games, with all but five of those coming at catcher, ranked in the top-six on the team in nearly every offensive category during her freshman season. The El Cajon, Calif., native was third on the team with 30 RBI, 47 hits and 10 doubles, while scoring 22 runs, tallying 66 total bases and sporting a .275 batting average. A wall behind the plate, Hayden allowed just three passed balls in 49 contests, while throwing our 16 of 46 would-be base stealers and making just three errors in 290 chances for a .990 fielding percentage.
"I am delighted with the contributions of all or our freshmen in their first season, including those who made All-Conference," said Thees. "Leila and Kimmi, along with all the others, were key components of our team."
Marshall, UAB, and Houston all tied for the most All-Conference selections with six, while regular-season champion, Tulsa, with five, was just ahead Memphis' four honorees.
Marshall catcher Rachel Folden, was named the C-USA Player of the Year, while Houston's Angel Shamblin and Elaina Nordstrom were named the Pitcher and Freshman of the Year, respectively.