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Huntingdon’s Payne, Giordana and Williams take top GSAC softball honors

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Huntingdon women's softball team picked up three of the Great South Athletic Conference's top softball awards on Thursday. With the release of the GSAC All-Conference awards, senior Aleah Payne was named GSAC Player of the Year, senior Bree Giordana was named GSAC Pitcher of the Year and head coach Gynger Williams was named GSAC Coach of the Year.

"Being recognized my senior year, this is something I'm going to remember forever," Payne said. "With the three of us being recognized, I feel like this is a team recognition. We've all supported each other this season."

A total of six Huntingdon softball players were recognized as All-Conference or Academic All-Conference.

"These girls have done exactly what we've asked of them this season. They've worked hard to make this team successful," Williams said. "For Aleah and Bree, both of them are very deserving of Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year. They have been very consistent all season and they've been leaders. Aleah has been a leader at the plate and in the field and Bree has held down the mound. I'm proud of all of these girls."

Entering this weekend's Great South Athletic Conference tournament, Payne is batting .467 with five home runs, 43 RBIs, 45 runs and 32 stolen bases this season. Through this past weekend, she led all of Division III with 12 triples, was ranked eighth in slugging percentage and 13th in stolen bases. She leads the GSAC in batting average, RBIs, runs, stolen bases and slugging percentage.

"Aleah is an excellent leader for us," Giordana said. "We look to her at the plate and in the field. Whatever role she has needed to fill for us, she has come through. I love having her on my team."

For Giordana, this is the second straight season she has been named GSAC Pitcher of the Year.

"There are so many great pitchers in the conference, it's an honor to be recognized," Giordana said.

Giordana was unbeaten in conference play during the regular season, posting a 9-0 record, a 0.73 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings. Overall, she is 14-7 with a 2.92 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 117 innings this season. She has 26 wins and 234 strikeouts during the past two seasons.

"She has confidence on the mound and has played a big role for us," Payne said. "I can't tell you how many times we've been in a crucial situation with two outs and she has come through with a strikeout to end the inning. She's at her best when we need her the most."

For Williams, this is her first GSAC Coach of the Year recognition in four seasons with the Lady Hawks. Huntingdon is 25-13 this year and won the regular-season conference title with a 15-1 record in the GSAC.

"It's a great honor, but a coach can't be successful without great players and a good assistant," Williams said. "Our players have worked hard all season and you can't replace all of the things (assistant coach) Casey Chrietzberg does for this team. This recognition is for all them."

Joining Payne and Giordana on the All-Conference team are Brittany Richardson, Lauren Welch and Holly Ostrander. Payne, Giordana, Welch and Kristi Taylor were named Academic All-Conference. Taylor was also a GSAC Sportsmanship Award winner.

 

GSAC Softball Year-End Awards
Pitcher of the Year – Bree Giordana, Huntingdon

Player of the Year – Aleah Payne, Huntingdon

Freshman of the Year – Brittney Henry, Maryville
 

Coach of the Year – Gynger Williams, Huntingdon

 

All-Conference Pitchers
Bree Giordana, Huntingdon

Brittney Head, Piedmont

Kayla Folds, LaGrange

Chelsea Krafft, Covenant

 

All-Conference Catchers
Emily Cheek, Piedmont
 

Brittany Richardson, Huntingdon

Andrea Brew, Maryville

 

Utility/DP 

Amber Bass, Salem

Brittany Henry, Maryville

 

All-Conference Infielders
Avignon Greene, Agnes Scott

Leah Kelley, Maryville

Kristi Morton, Salem

Shivani Ghodadra, Agnes Scott

Lauren Welch, Huntingdon

Courtney Wagoner, Covenant

Alex Giusti, Agnes Scott

Megan McClain, Piedmont
 

Aleah Payne, Huntingdon

 

All-Conference Outfielders 

Melanie Ennis, Agnes Scott

Beth Harris, Covenant

Ellie Vizcanio, Salem

Hannah Youngdeer, Maryville
 

Holly Ostrander, Huntingdon

Amanda Posey, Piedmont

Taylor Morgan, Piedmont

 

All-Freshman Team
Brittany Henry, Maryville

Hannah Youngdeer, Maryville

Abby Settles, Salem

Colleen DeGraff, Wesleyan 

Breahna Gillespie, Spelman

Amber Bass, Salem

Tiffany Cain, Agnes Scott

Kayla Kennedy, Salem

Jenna Ward, ASC

Alex Giusti, ASC

Ashley Monsrud, ASC

Kristin Hamby, Piedmont

Daniella Newbern, LaGrange

 

All-Academic Team 

Agnes Scott
Laura Schaeffer

Ashley Berger

Avignon Greene

 

Covenant

Morgan Booker

Beth Harris

Meagan Hess

Chelsea Krafft

 

Huntingdon
Lauren Welch

Kristi Taylor

Bree Giordana

Aleah Payne

 

Maryville
Chastity Smith

 

Piedmont
Jamie Dennis

Megan Kesler

Amanda Posey

Taylor Morgan

Lauren Head

Brittney Head

Megan Studdard

Shanice Wheeler

Emily Cheek

 

Salem
Emily Devane

Ellie Vizcaino

 

Wesleyan
Kayla Lumley

Anna Jones

 

Individual Sportsmanship Award
Agnes Scott – Avignon Greene

Covenant- Grace Hooper

Huntingdon – Kristi Taylor

LaGrange – Kate Smith

Maryville – Kelsie Payne

Piedmont – Megan Studdard

Salem- Breanna Griffin

Spelman – Maia Easley

Wesleyan – Alexia Barrett