June 28, 2006
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - On the heels of one of the most memorable seasons in the program's thirty year history, yet another honor has been bestowed upon the Lehigh softball program. Earlier this week, the Lehigh coaches were recognized as the 2006 Mid-Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).
The NFCA award honors the staff for their hard work in making 2006 one of the best campaigns in Lehigh history. The Lehigh coaching staff consists of head coach Fran Troyan, along with pitching coach Stephanie Covelle '02 and assistant coach Dave Bender. Elizabeth Gripp '04 worked behind the scenes as the team's administrative assistant.
Lehigh experienced unparalleled success in 2006, as the Mountain Hawks posted a 43-14 record and reached the Amherst (Mass.) Regional finals in the NCAA Tournament. Along the way, the Mountain Hawks posted a 19-1 record in Patriot League play, and Lehigh single-handedly eliminated Texas A&M, the tournament's 13th overall seed, by knocking off the Aggies on back-to-back days.
The Mountain Hawks' 43-14 record also establishes a new school and Patriot League single-season mark for wins.
Offensively, Lehigh led the Patriot League in team batting average (.278), hits (433), runs scored (241), and triples (24). The Lehigh defense also set the standard, boasting a fielding percentage of .962. In the circle, it comes as no surprise that the Mountain Hawks pitching staff led the way. As a team, Lehigh posted a miniscule 1.78 earned run average, while leading the league in fewest runs allowed (149), strikeouts (355), and saves (6).
"Any time you are honored by your peers, it is especially meaningful," Troyan said of the honor he and his staff received. "The fact of the matter is, Stephanie and Dave are exceptionally good at what they do. Without great assistants, there is no way the program would be where it is right now."
Of course, aided by the efforts of the coaches, several individuals had standout seasons for the Brown and White. Senior catcher Mary Wieder and junior right fielder Julie Sterrett, two of Lehigh's five All-Patriot League first team selections, each matched the school's single-season home run record with seven apiece. Freshman pitcher Lisa Sweeney was named the league's pitcher of the year, posting a 26-6 record with a 1.14 ERA. Sweeney set a league mark with 228 strikeouts in just over 196 innings pitched.
The Lehigh softball program has now won eight straight Patriot League regular season titles, and three consecutive tournament crowns.