MANSFIELD, Mass. – The Saint Anselm College softball team had a record-setting eight student-athletes earn Northeast-10 All-Conference honors while head coach Jill Gagnon was tabbed the NE10 Coach of the Year, as announced on Wednesday.
Saint Anselm's eight All-NE10 honorees matched Adelphi for the most this season and are the most in a season in program history. Seniors Amanda Bickford and Megan Murrell, as well as sophomore Erin Thompson, landed spots on the First Team. Sophomores Maggie Murphy and Morgan Perry and freshman Courtney Fisher were Second Team choices, while junior Jordan O'Connor and sophomore Shannon Colson earned Third Team honors. Fisher was also named to the All-Rookie Team.
Gagnon was selected as the NE10 Coach of the Year for the first time. In her fourth season on the Hilltop, she has guided the Hawks to a school-record 36 victories and the Northeast Division regular season title and No. 1 seed in this week's NE10 Championship. Her team has also earned the program's first-ever national ranking, coming in at No. 24 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll for the second-straight week this week.
The program's all-time leader in career hits with 220, Bickford earned her second-straight First Team honor and was an All-NE10 selection for the fourth consecutive season. She leads the NE10 in hits (71), ranks second in batting average (.408), fourth in runs (37) and 10th in on-base percentage. Her 71 hits this spring are a single-season school record. Bickford also has six assists from her spot in center field this season.
A Second Team honoree last season, Murrell moved up to the First Team this spring. Her 45 RBI this season lead the NE10 and are the second-most in a season at Saint Anselm. The senior became the program's all-time leader in career RBI and has an even 100 for her career. Murrell also ranks in the NE10's top-15 in six other offensive categories, including doubles (11), home runs (8), slugging percentage (.629) and on-base percentage (.446).
Thompson was an All-NE10 pick for the second-straight season, moving up to the First Team after earning Third Team and All-Rookie honors last spring. The sophomore ranks second in the conference in runs (41), sixth in batting average (.379), tied for eighth in hits (53) and 10th in stolen bases (11). Thompson is hitting .404 in NE10 games this season with 26 runs scored in 27 conference games.
An All-Rookie team choice last season, Murphy secured a spot on the Second Team during her sophomore season. The sophomore is batting .354 for the season and .375 in NE10 play, while ranking third in the conference in stolen bases (20), fourth in on-base percentage (.455), fifth in walks (21) and sixth in runs (35).
Perry, who has been named the NE10 Pitcher of the Week three times this season, collected the first All-NE10 accolade of her career with her Second Team nod. Perry is 19-3 this season in 24 appearances with a 1.78 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 125.2 innings of work. Among conference pitchers, she ranks third in wins, fourth in ERA and fifth in both strikeouts and strikeouts per seven innings. Perry's 19 wins are the second-most in a season at Saint Anselm all-time and include seven shutouts.
Fisher joined Perry as the pitchers on the All-NE10 Second Team and landed All-Rookie Team honors during her first season on the Hilltop. The two-time NE10 Rookie of the Week and one-time NE10 Pitcher of the Week ranks sixth in the conference in wins (14), complete games (16), innings pitched (143.1) and ERA (1.95), while her three saves are tied for fourth-most in the NE10.
O'Connor received her first All-NE10 honor during a breakout offensive season for the shortstop. The junior has raised her batting average over 100 points from last season and has driven in more runs (27) this season than her first two seasons combined. Batting .317 for the season, O'Connor's 17 RBI this season in NE10 play are tied for eighth-most in the conference.
Colson's Third Team honor was the first of the career for the sophomore, who leads the NE10 with 30 stolen bases this season. Her per-game average of 0.65 stolen bases a contest ranks 32nd nationally while her 30 swiped bags are second-most in a single-season in program history. Colson ranks tied for second in the NE10 in triples (6) and tied for sixth in runs (35) with a .333 batting average and 27 RBI.
As the top seed from the Northeast Division, Saint Anselm received a double bye to the semifinals of the NE10 Championship and will face either Merrimack or Pace in the second semifinal at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, May 4. The Warriors and Setters will play in the quarterfinals on Thursday, May 3 at 12 p.m. at Adelphi, which is hosting the tournament from the quarterfinals on as the Southwest Division's top seed.