Big East honors for USF tennis, softball
The Big East's spring postseason honors are rolling in, and USF is faring well, starting with tennis, where seniors Lucas Jovita and Irene Rehberger each earned a share of their respective Big East Player of the Year honors.
In all USF had six tennis players make the All-Big East teams -- Jovita on the men's side, along with Wael Kalani and Frederico Sabogal; then Rehberger on the women's side, along with Janette Bejlkova and Ecaterina Vasenina. USF's women finished second in the Big East tournament, losing to Notre Dame in the championship match, while USF's men took third.
In softball, USF saw freshman lefty Sara Nevins lose out on Big East Rookie of the Year, but she did make the first-team All-Big East, with fellow Bulls Lindsey Richardson, Gina Kafalas and Courtney Goff making the third team.
If you're surprised that Nevins didn't take home the Big East rookie honor, she did have a remarkable season on the mound, with the league's best ERA in conference play, a microscopic 0.78. She went 8-2 with three saves in conference, with 75 strikeouts against just 12 walks. Unfortunately, there's DePaul's Kirsten Verdun, whose pitching numbers match up closely with Nevins -- 12-0, 2.22 ERA, 55 Ks against 10 walks. Thing is, Verdun was also among the Big East's best hitters in conference play -- second in home runs (7) and RBIs (27), drew a league-best 24 walks and tying for the league lead with a .571 on-base percentage.
At first, I was surprised USF's two big freshman hitters, Stephanie Medina and Kourtney Salvarola, didn't make the cut, but their gaudy season numbers obscured rookie-year struggles in the Big East. Medina hit just .179, and while she did have a solid 14 RBIs, amazingly seven of those came in one game against Seton Hall, matching her output for the other 16 games she played. Salvarola, too, was mortal in league play, hitting just .261. Both, along with Nevins and the Goff twins, Courtney and Ashli, are a foundation for USF to build around in the next three years.