IOWA CITY, Iowa — Two University of Iowa softball student-athletes — Holly Hoffman and Sammi Gyerman — were recognized for their accomplishments by the Big Ten Conference on Wednesday afternoon. Hoffman collected second team All-Big Ten accolades, while Gyerman was named to the All-Defensive Team. It marked the first all-conference honors of their careers.
Hoffman, a catcher, had her best offensive year at the plate this season. The senior registered single-season career highs with a team-best .304 batting average, 41 hits, 11 doubles, two triples, and four home runs in 46 games. The Osceola, Indiana, native hit .379 in conference action and registered 25 of her 41 hits in Big Ten play. In game one of a doubleheader against Nebraska on April 6, Hoffman went a perfect 4-for-4 with two doubles and a pair of singles. The four hits and two doubles both marked a career high.
In her career, Hoffman started 192 games, including 181 behind the plate. She caught runners stealing 41 times and was responsible for calling the pitches behind the dish, including redshirt junior Shayla Starkenburg’s no hitter last season on Feb. 17, 2015.
“Holly improved steadily throughout her career and she ended up going out strong in her senior season,” said UI head coach Marla Looper. “I think the biggest thing was her constant approach at the plate. She helped us stay in games and she helped us win ball games. She’s been a constant behind the plate, but a lot of times these all-conference accolades focus on offensive production, and she really did that for us this year.”
Gyerman has been an anchor for the Iowa defense in center field. The San Pedro, California, native remained errorless in Big Ten action, registering 27 put outs and five assists. Gyerman started 171 games in the outfield in her Hawkeye career, including 122 in center field. She amassed 226 puts and 21 outfield assists.
“It’s not often that outfielders get more than a handful of assists and she had five in conference play alone,” said Looper. “She had a lot of chances to be a part of the game. There are a select few that make the All-Defensive Team. It’s nine players, period. To be one of those nine means a lot. I think it bodes well in the effort she put in to fixing the little things in her game defensively. That’s what allowed her to be errorless. It’s not easy to do that.”
Sophomore Sarah Kurtz was also honored as the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award recipient. The Herndon, Virginia, native, appeared in 31 games this season with 29 starts at third base. Kurtz hit .231 in conference action this season, and plated a pair of runs in Iowa’s 4-1 win over Penn State on April 23.