Blue Hen Softball Sets Numerous Marks During Record-Breaking 2016 Season
The Blue Hens, who finished with a 30-21 record, posted their second consecutive 30-win season, accomplishing that feat for just the second time in school history along with the 1999 and 2000 squads. The 2015 and 2016 teams’ 30 victories are tied for the fifth most in program history. Delaware ended the year with an RPI of 69 out of 295 schools, the Blue Hens’ lowest since the stat began in 2002. UD’s previous lowest RPI was 115 during the 2013 season.
The Blue Hens finished fifth in the Colonial Athletic Association with a 9-9 league mark, and then defeated Elon, 8-2, on the first day of the league championship, their first CAA Tournament win since 2004.
Delaware set a school record with 101 stolen bases on the year, which led the CAA and ranked 15th in the nation. Additionally the Blue Hens were second in a UD single season with 255 runs scored and 33 homers, both behind only the 2015 squad. Delaware took two of three games from Hofstra during the regular season, snapping a 27-game losing streak to the Pride and posting its first series win over its long-time rival since 2006.
The awards were plentiful following the year, as Delaware had four players named to the All-CAA teams for the first time since 2004 and featured two players on the All-Region squad in consecutive years for just the second time, along with 1999 and 2000.
Sophomore Mariah Kondravy was named first team All-CAA, second team All-Northeast Region and second team All-ECAC. She became the first Blue Hen since 2010 to earn first team all-league honors, and is just the fourth UD player to earn multiple All-Region accolades. Kondravy tied for third in the CAA with 14 doubles, ranked fourth with a .382 batting average, and was fifth with 63 hits and 46 RBI, all team-highs. She ranked second in a UD single season in RBI, tied for third in doubles, and fourth in hits.
Kondravy already ranks second in Delaware history with 20 home runs, three shy of the school record, and is tied for third with 101 RBI.
Sophomore shortstop Leanna Gearhart, a second team All-CAA selection and the UD Alumni Association Team MVP, also had a fantastic year at the plate for the Blue Hens. Gearhart led the CAA for the second consecutive year with eight triples, tied for fifth in the nation, while her 19 career triples are the most by any Division I player over the last two seasons. Her 19 triples are also second in UD history, three away from the record, and are just one shy of the CAA career mark.
Gearhart also shattered the UD single season stolen base record by swiping 44 bags, eighth most in Division I and 21 more than the previous school mark. She stole 17 more bases than any other player in the CAA, and at one point swiped 22 consecutive bases without getting caught, also a school record. Additionally Gearhart set a UD single season mark and led the CAA with 54 runs scored, while her steals and runs totals are both second in CAA single season history. Gearhart’s 55 career steals are second in Blue Hen history and 11 shy of the school record, and she also ranks sixth at UD with 91 runs scored.
Freshman catcher Anna Steinmetz made an immediate impact for the Blue Hens, as she became UD’s first CAA Rookie of the Year since Allison Borchers in 2005. Steinmetz belted 15 homers, which tied for fourth among Division I freshmen, tied for the CAA lead, and tied the UD single season record. A second team All-CAA, CAA All-Rookie Team, and third team All-Northeast Region selection, Steinmetz also tied for second in the conference with 104 total bases and was second on the team with 44 RBI. A three-time CAA Rookie of the Week honoree, she already ranks fourth in Blue Hen history with 15 home runs.
In the circle, Kiersten Coffman made 40 appearances for the Blue Hens, second most in a UD single season, while her 18 victories tied for third. She established a school single game record by striking out 17 batters during a win over Morgan State on Mar. 30. Fellow pitcher Carolyn Szymanski was named first team CoSIDA District 2, becoming the first Blue Hen softball player to earn that honor since 2009. Szymanski will enter her senior year ranked fourth in UD history with 315 strikeouts, tied for fourth with 41 wins, tied for seventh with 95 appearances, and tied for eighth with nine shutouts.