Northwestern's Cooper Named Big Ten's First Three-Time Player Of The Year
May 10, 2007
PARK RIDGE, Ill. - For the first time in Big Ten history, Northwestern's Garland Cooper picked up her third consecutive Player of the Year accolade as announced by the conference office today. Teammate Eileen Canney was named Pitcher of the Year and NU's Nicole Pauly was tabbed Freshman of the Year. After capturing the Big Ten regular season title last weekend, Ohio State's Linda Kalafatis earned Coach of the Year laurels.
This season, Cooper led the Big Ten in home runs (21), RBI (65) and slugging percentage (.824). In conference play, she hit .408 (20-for-49), while racking up 19 RBI, 13 runs and seven home runs. She also tallied a league-best .571 on-base percentage while ranking second in total bases (44). Cooper, a native of Mission Viejo, Calif., established the Big Ten's career home run record this season, currently owning 53 all-time blasts. She also has tied the conference's single-season record with 21 dingers. The senior first baseman becomes the first player in conference history to nab three consecutive Player of the Year laurels. In addition, Cooper is only the third Wildcat to claim top conference accolades as Brooke Siebel was honored in 2000 and Lisa Ishikawa was named the Big Ten's first-ever Player of the Year in 1985.
Northwestern's Canney becomes only the third standout in Big Ten history to earn multiple Pitcher of the Year laurels, joining Michigan's Kelly Kovach (1992 and 1995) and Iowa's Kristi Hanks (2000 and 2001). The senior hurler closed out the regular season with a 25-8 record while leading the Big Ten with 276 strikeouts. The Paradise, Calif., native also allowed opponents to hit only .198 during conference play.
Pauly, a native of Palatine, Ill., becomes the sixth Northwestern player to be named Freshman of the Year. She racked up a conference-best 26 RBI and 44 total bases in Big Ten play, while also placing third in home runs (6) and hits (22). Pauly joins teammates Canney and Tammy Williams, who were honored in 2004 and 2006, respectively, as the conference's top freshman, as well as former Wildcats' Ndidi Opia (1986), Chinazo Opia (1987) and Brooke Siebel (1998),
Ohio State's Kalafatis claims top coaching laurels after leading the Buckeyes to only their second Big Ten regular season title in program history and their first since the 1990 campaign. Needing to win the last two games of the regular season against Penn State to clinch the conference crown, Ohio State came out on top, defeating the Nittany Lions, 4-2 and 4-0. The Buckeyes finished the Big Ten season with a 14-2 mark, while claiming the No. 1 seed in this week's Big Ten Tournament. Kalafatis picks up her second Big Ten Coach of the Year accolade as she was previously honored in 2002.
In addition, the conference office announced honorees from each team for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. The student-athletes also must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. Honorees for softball are Illinois' Shanna Diller, Indiana's Sarah Padove, Iowa's Katie Brown, Michigan's Rebekah Milian, Michigan State's Dayna Feenstra, Minnesota's Katie Meyer, Northwestern's Erin Dyer, Ohio State's Lauren Daykin, Penn State's Kelsey Francisco, Purdue's Erika Peterson and Wisconsin's Valyncia Raphael. These 11 student-athletes are now candidates for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, as the conference office will honor one male and one female student-athlete from each institution at the end of the school year.
The 2007 Big Ten Softball Tournament gets underway today through Saturday, May 12. The tournament's championship game will be aired live on CSTV at 1 p.m. ET. Visit www.bigten.org for additional tournament information.
A complete list of the 2007 Big Ten softball postseason honors follows.
2007 ALL-BIG TEN SOFTBALL TEAMS AND POSTSEASON HONORS