Big Ten Announces Softball Postseason Honors

Minnesota catcher Kendyl Lindaman is the fourth student in Big Ten softball history to earn Player and Freshman of the Year honors in the same season.
May 10, 2017


ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference announced the 2017 All-Big Ten Softball Teams and individual awards Wednesday, with Big Ten Champion Minnesota earning all four individual accolades through a vote of the conference’s 14 head coaches. The Golden Gophers’ Kendyl Lindaman was selected as both the Player and Freshman of the Year (receiving the latter award unanimously), Sara Groenewegen collected Pitcher of the Year honors and Jessica Allister claimed Coach of the Year plaudits.

Lindaman is the fourth student in Big Ten softball history to earn both the Player and Freshman of the Year honors in the same season, duplicating a feat previously achieved by Iowa pitcher Karen Jackson (1991), Michigan utility player Sara Griffin (1995) and Michigan shortstop Sierra Romero (2013). She is the fourth Minnesota student to be chosen Big Ten Player of the Year, joining Barb Drake (1986), Kari Blank (1991) and Groenewegen (2015). Lindaman is also the fifth Gopher selected Freshman of the Year, as well as the third in the past four seasons, following recent honorees Groenewegen (2014) and Maddie Houlihan (2016).

Lindaman set a Big Ten record by earning eight Freshman of the Week citations this year, one more than Romero in 2013, and she also was named Big Ten Player of the Week on May 1. The Ankeny, Iowa, native leads the Big Ten in four offensive categories this season — batting average (.432, 22nd NCAA), on-base percentage (.592, third NCAA), slugging percentage (.932, fourth NCAA) and home runs (19, sixth NCAA) — and is second in RBI (68, fourth NCAA).

During conference play, Lindaman narrowly missed becoming the second student in Big Ten history (after Michigan’s Maggie Viefhaus in 2010) to earn the conference triple crown, leading the Big Ten in batting average (.468), on-base percentage (.671), slugging percentage (1.128) and RBI (a Big Ten-record 36), while finishing second in home runs (nine).

Groenewegen earns Big Ten Pitcher of the Year accolades for the second time, having previously done so in 2014, when she was the first Minnesota hurler to receive the award. The White Rock, British Columbia, product is 27-2 this season with a 0.60 ERA, leading the Big Ten and ranking third in the nation in both wins and ERA, while ranking second in the conference in opposing batting average (.153) and total strikeouts (256). In conference games, Groenewegen led the Big Ten with a 15-1 record and 0.53 ERA (the third-lowest by a Big Ten pitcher in conference play in the past 25 years and lowest since 2006), and placed second with a .141 opposing batting average and 145 strikeouts.

Allister is the third Gopher head coach to be selected as Big Ten Coach of the Year, and the first in more than a quarter century, with former Minnesota coaches Linda Wells (1988) and Teresa Wilson (1991) previously earning that distinction.

Allister has led the Gophers to a 51-3 record and a 22-1 mark in Big Ten play this season, culminating with Minnesota’s first conference title since 1991. The Gophers, who are ranked a program-best No. 2 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) poll and No. 3 in the USA Softball survey this week, have set a school record for wins in a season and strung together the two longest winning streaks in program history, including their current run of a school-record 22 consecutive victories heading into this week’s Big Ten Tournament.

Groenewegen and Lindaman were named first-team All-Big Ten performers and were joined on the 18-member squad by Illinois’ Nicole Evans and Breanna Wonderly, Indiana’s CaraMia Tsirigos, Michigan’s Megan Betsa, Tera Blanco, Faith Canfield and Kelly Christner, Michigan State’s Lea Foerster, Minnesota’s Houlihan, Allie Arneson and Danielle Parlich, Ohio State’s Emily Clark and Lilli Piper, Penn State’s Tori Dubois, Purdue’s Mallory Baker and Rutgers’ Taryn Atlee. Evans, Betsa, Houlihan and Piper were all unanimous first-team selections.

Eighteen students were named second-team All-Big Ten honorees, while nine students were named to the conference’s All-Defensive Team. The Big Ten also announced the 14 Sportsmanship Award honorees from each institution. The students chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These students must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. 

2017 Softball All-Conference Teams and Individual Awards
(as selected by the Big Ten coaches — players in ALL CAPS were unanimous selections)

First Team All-Big Ten
NICOLE EVANS, Sr., OF, ILL
Breanna Wonderly, Sr., P, ILL
CaraMia Tsirigos, Sr., DP, IND
MEGAN BETSA, Sr., P, MICH
Tera Blanco, Jr., UT, MICH
Faith Canfield, So., 2B, MICH
Kelly Christner, Sr., OF, MICH
Lea Foerster, Jr., OF, MSU
Allie Arneson, So., SS, MINN
Sara Groenewegen, Sr., P, MINN
MADDIE HOULIHAN, So., OF, MINN
Kendyl Lindaman, Fr., C, MINN
Danielle Parlich, Jr., 3B, MINN
Emily Clark, So., 2B, OSU
LILLI PIPER, So., SS, OSU
Tori Dubois, So., OF, PSU
Mallory Baker, So., 1B, PUR
Taryn Atlee, Fr., 2B, RU

Second Team All-Big Ten
Leigh Farina, Jr., 2B, ILL
Rebecca Blitz, Jr., OF, IND
Natalie Peters, So., OF, MICH
Abby Ramirez, Sr., SS, MICH
Kaitlyn Eveland, So., 3B, MSU
Sydney Dwyer, Jr., 1B, MINN
Sam Macken, Sr., OF, MINN
Dani Wagner, Jr., OF, MINN
Kaylan Jablonski, Jr., UT, NEB
MJ Knighten, Sr., 3B, NEB
Alyvia Simmons, So., OF, NEB
Marissa Panko, Jr., SS, NU
Sabrina Rabin, Jr., OF, NU
Shelby Hursh, Sr., P, OSU
Taylor White, Jr., OF, OSU
Kaitlyn Menz, Fr., P, WIS
Chloe Miller, Sr., C, WIS
Brooke Wyderski, Jr., SS, WIS

All-Defensive Team
P: Sara Groenewegen, Sr., MINN
C: Kendyl Lindaman, Fr., MINN
1B: Alcy Bush, Sr., NU
2B: Kelsey Jenkins, Jr., WIS
SS: Rachel O’Malley, Jr., IND
3B: Anna Kirk, Sr., OSU
OF: Nicole Evans, Sr., ILL
OF: Cheyenne Pratt, Jr., IOWA
OF: Lea Foerster, Jr., MSU

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kendyl Lindaman, Fr., MINN
PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Sara Groenewegen, Sr., MINN
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: KENDYL LINDAMAN, MINN
COACH OF THE YEAR: Jessica Allister, MINN

Sportsmanship Award Honorees: Annie Fleming, ILL; Erin Lehman, IND; Sarah Kurtz, IOWA; Hannah Dewey, MD; Morgan Swift, MICH; McKenzie Long, MSU; Sam Macken, MINN; Bri Cassidy, NEB; Morgan Newport, NU; Anna Kirk, OSU; Gianna Arrizurieta, PSU; Erika Beeler, PUR; Jacqueline Kott, RU; Sara Novak, WIS