Softball’s Katie Kelly named to A-Sun preseason all-conference team
Head coach Amanda Lehotak and the Dolphins open the 2010 season against UNC Greensboro on Feb. 12.
Head coach Amanda Lehotak and the Dolphins open the 2010 season against UNC Greensboro on Feb. 12.
The JU softball program got its first honor of the 2010 season as junior shortstop Katie Kelly was named to the A-Sun preseason all-conference team which was released by the league office on Wednesday.

As a sophomore, Kelly led the Dolphins offensively for the second consecutive year after tallying a .327 average (56-171), a .404 on-base percentage and scoring a team-best 30 runs. She recorded 43 of her 56 hits at the leadoff spot in the lineup and tallied a team-high 17 multi-hit games.

For her efforts, she earned first team all-conference honors and become the first player in school history to receive Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Region first team accolades.

“We are really happy for Katie,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “She has had two solid years for our team and I’m glad to see she is getting the recognition. We expect another great season from her as well as our team as a whole.”

In the coaches’ poll, JU was selected to finish 10th for the second consecutive year despite making the A-Sun tournament in 2009 and finishing with the second-best win total in school history.

Lipscomb took the top spot with 111 points and five first-place votes, while also getting the nod as the tournament champion. Campbell, which won the 2009 A-Sun tournament, was selected second (106) followed by Mercer (91), Florida Gulf Coast (85) and USC Upstate (77) to make up the rest of the top five. Kennesaw State, UNF, ETSU, Stetson, JU and Belmont rounded out the rest of the poll.

“The coaches’ poll is what it is,” said Lehotak. “Our focus is to win games and improve our finish from last year. I tell our kids that if they want respect then they have to earn it and this poll gives them a good starting point to doing just that.”

Despite the low selection, the Dolphins are ready for another breakout season as they return 14 players from the 2009 squad.

Along with Kelly, the Dolphins return seniors Ashley Mora and Ashley Iveson as well as sophomores Sarah Sigrest and Amanda Schmidt.

Mora ranked first on the team with 25 RBI and two triples, while Schmidt finished the final month of 2009 hitting a team-best .349 with three doubles.

In the circle, Sigrest led the staff in wins (12), ERA (2.35) and strikeouts (134) en route to earning A-Sun all-freshman honors. Iveson posted career bests in wins (10) and strikeouts (100), while finishing the 2009 season with a 1.61 ERA in the final 15 games.

The Dolphins open the 2010 season in their home tournament on Feb. 12 against UNC Greensboro at 4:45 p.m. before rounding out the day against Bethune-Cookman at 7 p.m.