5 Hawkeyes Earn All-Big Ten Honors

May 16, 2012

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Five members of the University of Iowa softball team earned All-Big Ten recognition, the league office announced Wednesday. Freshman Megan Blank, sophomore Kayla Massey and senior Liz Watkins were named first team honorees, sophomore Michelle Zoeller was a second team selection and junior Johnnie Dowling earned third team honors.

Blank becomes the ninth player in school history — first since Stacy May in 2003 — to garner a first team accolade as a freshman. The Culver City, Calif., native hit .375 (27-of-72) in Big Ten play and led all shortstops with 16 RBIs. She also had eight doubles, three triples, a .569 slugging and .469 on-base percentage. In the field, Blank started every game, posting a .971 fielding percentage, the best mark among league shortstops.

Blank led the Hawkeyes in batting average (.390), hits (60), doubles (17), triples (5) and walks (25). She had 18 multi-hit games, scored 34 runs and drove in 34. The 17 doubles are tied for the fourth most in a single season in Iowa history. Her five triples are tied for eighth and her .390 batting average is tied for 10th all-time.

Massey earned her first All-Big Ten honor after posting a 9-3 record in 12 conference starts. The Foothill Ranch, Calif., native had a 1.95 ERA with 11 complete games and a league-best four shutouts. She allowed 29 runs (25 earned) in 89.2 innings pitched and struck out 52, while limiting opposing hitters to a .217 batting average.

Massey finished the year with a 15-11 record and 2.04 ERA with seven shutouts in 26 starts. She went 7-2 with a 0.88 ERA over her last nine starts with five shutouts.

Watkins earned first team honors for the first time in her career, and she becomes the ninth player in school history to be a four-time All-Big Ten selection. The Taylor Ridge, Ill., native hit .297 with three home runs and 13 RBIs in conference play. She also drew 12 walks and had a 1.000 fielding percentage.

Watkins batted .311 overall during her senior campaign with five home runs, eight doubles and 30 RBIs. The catcher finished her career ranked third in program history in home runs (28) and RBIs (137).

Zoeller earned her first career All-Big Ten recognition after hitting .405 during Big Ten play. The designated player was inserted into the starting lineup April 21 at Michigan State and hit .375 over the final 14 games — the second best mark on the team — in leading the Hawkeyes to a 10-4 record and a runner-up finish in league play.

The Mequon, Wis., native hit a career-best .346 during the 2012 season with one home run, nine runs scored and nine RBIs.

Dowling thrived in her move from the right to the left side of the plate, earning her first career All-Big Ten honor. The outfielder hit a team-best .381 (32-of-84) during conference play, while scoring a team-best 21 runs.

The Des Moines, Iowa, native hit .308 overall during her junior campaign and scored a team-best 35 runs. She posted career-highs in batting average, runs, hits (53), doubles (4), total bases (59), walks (9) and on-base percentage (.357). She also had nine steals in 13 attempts to lead the team.

Senior Katie Keim was Iowa’s Sportsmanship Award honoree. The accolade is presented to individuals on each team who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.

Michigan swept the individual awards. Amanda Chidester was selected as the Big Ten Player of the Year; Haylie Wagner was tabbed as the Big Ten Pitcher and Freshman of the Year, and Carol Hutchins was selected as the Big Ten Coach of the Year.

For a complete list of 2012 All-Big Ten selections, click HERE.