Lower selected First Team All-A-Sun, Henderson named to Second Team
MACON, Ga. (May 10, 2011) â€" After having no players named to the Atlantic Sun All-Conference Team in the preseason, the league office released its postseason awards on Tuesday, and two ETSU scholar-athletes were represented as sophomore Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) and senior Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) both landed all-conference honors. Lower was selected to the first team, while Henderson was voted to the second team.
"I am very proud for both Sam and Katie because they have worked hard the entire year, so to see them be recognized by the league is quite an honor," commented first year head coach Brad Irwin. "For Katie to finish her senior season like she did is a testament to her character, while we look for Sam to build off her successful season and continue to get stronger."
Lower, who led the Bucs in hitting and ranked fifth in the A-Sun with a .353 batting average, enjoyed quite an impressive turnaround from her freshman to sophomore seasons. The Sebring, Fla. native raised her batting average over 110 points this year, while also tying Henderson for the team lead in hits. Eighteen of Lowerâ€™s 47 hits came against A-Sun foes â€" where the criminal justice major hit .360 to place her eighth overall among the conference leaders. Lower recorded a hit in 13 of her 19 conference games played, while also finishing the season with a .417 batting average and .625 slugging percentage after hitting leadoff for the Bucs in their final seven games of the campaign. The second-year starter strung together 11 multi-hit games, while hitting safely in six straight contests from 3/4-11 and recording hits in 12 of 14 conference games from 4/2-22. Lowerâ€™s .353 batting average was also the third highest mark in program history, while her .504 slugging percentage ranks fifth.
"Sam is a tremendous player who helps us both in the field and at the plate," said Irwin. "She produced wherever she hit in our lineup, and she also filled in nicely for us at short after never playing the position at the collegiate level. We are very fortunate to have Sam for two more years and hopefully she continues to put up all-conference numbers."
Meanwhile, Henderson closed out her career with a banner season as she also saw a spike her numbers offensively. Henderson raised her average over 70 points as she went from hitting .274 as a junior to a .348 in her final year as Buccaneer. The Jackson, Tenn. native found her name among the conference leaders in numerous offensive categories as Henderson ranked sixth in average and on-base percentage (.434), tied for seventh in doubles (12), and was tenth in slugging percentage (.570). In addition, Henderson broke the ETSU single-season record for on-base percentage, while her slugging percentage was the third highest in a season and her batting average was fourth.
"Katie was a strong leader for our team this season and this is a well-deserving honor for her as she finished up her playing career," Irwin said. "Not only did Katie start every game for us, but she was willing to do whatever it took to help the team out. Katie was a pleasure to coach during her final season at ETSU and I want to wish her the best of luck."
Lower and Henderson are the fifth and sixth Buccaneer players to receive first or second team A-Sun honors since ETSU joined the conference in 2006. Furthermore, Lower becomes the first Buccaneer to be named first team all-conference since Stephanie Gaynord and Amanda Haverman received the accolade in 2007.
Jacksonvilleâ€™s Sarah Sigrest was named Pitcher of the Year, while Amanda Lehotak was voted Coach of the Year after guiding the Dolphins to the regular season championship. Courtney Platt from Florida Gulf Coast was tabbed Player of the Year and North Floridaâ€™s Cortney Radke was selected Freshman of the Year.