May 6, 2014
NEW YORK, N.Y. - After striking out a school record 284 batters and limiting hitters to the second lowest batting average (.192 average) in the conference, sophomore Kate Poppe earned herself a spot on the All-BIG EAST Second Team as announced by the league offices this afternoon.
"It's an honor to be recognized to the All-BIG EAST Second Team," Poppe stated. "I tried to improve in a couple of my weaker areas this season and that's the goal for next year as well, just trying to get better every day."
Following a freshman campaign where Poppe tossed 237.2 innings and fanned 20 opponents during a no-hit performance, both single season program records, the team ace was just as dominant and overpowering as any pitcher in the country in 2014.
Throughout the season, Poppe was sensational in the circle as a staple atop several conference categories. Her performances on the bump landed her name as the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week for the first time in her career to go with four appearances on the league Honor Roll.
"I am really happy for Kate to have received this recognition. The BIG EAST was a very competitive league this year with a lot of good pitching," Villanova head coach Maria DiBernardi said. "Kate worked very hard to improve and expand her game this year by developing more and better pitches. I feel she truly deserves this award. She is one of the best pitchers in the country and I am very proud to have her here at Villanova."
Poppe's 284 whiffs were good enough to finish fourth in the entire NCAA and first in the BIG EAST following the conclusion of the regular-season. That number averaged out to an impressive 9.1 strikeouts per seven innings which is 17th in the country and first in the conference.
No team relied on one pitcher more than Villanova did this season. The sophomore workhorse appeared in 41 games and threw 219 innings, both league highs. And only three other pitchers in the BIG EAST posted a better mark than Poppe's 2.05 ERA.
Overall, Poppe finished with 13 wins, one save, two shutouts and 18 complete games to go along with 13 double-digit strikeout performances. At the plate, she hit three towering home runs and scored 10 times.
The best outing of Poppe's season came on April 12 at home against conference foe Butler. Not only did Poppe record her second career no-hitter but she did whatever she wanted against the Bulldogs hitters, fanning 12 batters to give the Wildcats their first victory in the BIG EAST.
The Downingtown, Pa. product becomes the first player to land an all-conference honor since the Wildcats cemented three names to the awards lists in 2010.
"I am especially proud and thank the coaches in the BIG EAST who recognized her talent and voted for her since our conference record was not up to par this year due to the youth on our team," DiBernardi added. "That, to me, says a lot about BIG EAST Softball and our new alignment."