WAC Honors Wolf Pack

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The University of Nevada placed a program-record nine players on the 2008 All-WAC Softball Team, which was announced Tuesday at the WAC’s postseason softball banquet. Senior outfielder Vanessa Briones was named the WAC’s Player of the Year and Michelle Gardner was named the Coach of the Year.

“These are great honors for our program and all of the players are very deserving,” Gardner said. “I am proud of this team and what these players have accomplished so far this season.”

Briones led the way for a program-record six Nevada players on the All-WAC first team. The senior led the WAC with a .429 batting average, including four home runs and 16 RBI in WAC play. She was joined by fellow outfielder Brittany Puzey, who was named to the first team for the second straight season. Puzey batted .339 with seven extra-base hits in WAC games.

Senior Jordan McPherson was named to the first team as an at-large selection. McPherson, the WAC’s Preseason Pitcher of the Year, went 6-2 with a 1.87 earned-run average in nine WAC appearances. Sophomore Kelsey Starr was the All-WAC first-baseman after driving in 14 with eight extra-base hits and a .357 average in WAC play.

Rounding Nevada’s selections on the first team were a pair of freshman in Noelle Micka and Danielle Patrick. Micka, a catcher, led the WAC with 22 hits. She batted .338 with five doubles, two triples, two home runs and 15 RBI in WAC games. Patrick, a shortstop, was second in the conference in batting with a .404 average, which included three home runs and 11 RBI.

Nevada had three players named to the second team. Sophomore Katie Holverson was the pitcher on the team as she went undefeated in WAC play with an 8-0 record and a 1.77 earned-run average. Junior second baseman Kym Silagyi repeated her 2007 All-WAC second-team selection after batting .321 with four stolen bases in WAC play. Britton Murdock, another freshman, was selected as the utility player after .365 with a .468 on-base percentage.

Gardner guided Nevada to its first-ever WAC regular-season championship with a 16-2 record in league games. Nevada went undefeated at Hixson Park with a 9-0 mark in WAC games and 11-0 overall. For the season, Nevada set school records for victories with its 40-14 record and the Pack is nationally ranked in all polls. This week, the Pack is No. 17 in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and No. 20 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25.

“We have a great staff and our coaches do a great job with these kids. And we have great kids on this team who have made the commitment to the program. Those two aspects are the reason why we have had the success we have had so far this season,” Gardner said.

The All-WAC team was voted on by the league’s seven head coaches. Coaches could not vote for their own players. The complete All-WAC team can be found by clicking on the PDF link at the top of this page.