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The National Fastpitch Coaches Association named eight Lamar University softball players as All-America scholar-athletes for the 2017 season. To win the award, the players had to maintain a 3.5 GPA.

“(It) feels good that my young ladies can excel in things other than softball,” Holly Bruder, LU head softball coach, said. “We strive to excel in all aspects of life and this is just another accomplishment to add to wins, community service, and now academic excellence.”

Representing the team were Samantha Cetta, Erin Kyle, Ciara Luna, Ashley McDowell, Madeline Myers, Laura Napoli, Caitlin Terrazas and Corina Thornton. Five of the eight will return to play in the 2018 season (Kyle, Myers, Napoli, Terrazas and Thornton).

“This award is such an honor — we’ve worked so hard on and off the field,” junior outfielder Myers said. “Being recognized for our academic accomplishments is something truly amazing.”

Last season, Myers batted .265 in Southland Conference play.

The players said they believe that winning this award is really about balancing time between study and playing.

“It’s all about time management, it’s hard fitting in and getting enough food to eat, but it is all about prioritizing,” sophomore pitcher Kyle said. “Also, getting stuff done ahead of schedule is really beneficial to success.”

Kyle said she believes that winning this award will set examples and help motivate the incoming players this season to do well and excel, both on and off the field.

The Lady Cards had a 34-31 record and advanced to the championship game of the National Invitational Softball Championship before losing to Liberty University. It was the first national postseason appearance for the team since its revival in 2013.

“The goal for us all is to win conference and go back to that championship game, and actually win it,” senior pitcher Napoli said. “A goal for me, personally, is to win the award again, and win pitcher of the year for the Southland Conference.”

Napoli, holds LU career pitching records for wins with 39, appearances with 110, innings pitched with 462.2, saves with seven, and complete games with 36. She also has 220 career strikeouts, which is third on the all-time university list.

Bruder said that winning the awards can propel a great spring season.

“To hold our players to this standard is a good thing,” she said. “We strive to be the best on the field, in the community, and in the classroom — this is no exception,” she said. “We will keep growing from this benchmark.”

Story by Cade Smith, UP staff writer

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