In Brief

A Winning Pitch

Softball’s Allyson Fournier to be honored with Honda Sports Award as Division III Athlete of the Year
Allyson Fournier winds up to pitch
Allyson Fournier winds up to pitch in the NCAA championship series. Photo: Alonso Nichols
June 11, 2013

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Allyson Fournier, E15, a sophomore pitcher who led the Jumbos to their first national championship title, will receive the Honda Sports Award as NCAA Division III Athlete of the Year from the Collegiate Women Sports Awards. The organization will give her the award as part of its 2013 Honda Cup on June 24 in Los Angeles.

“It is an honor to be receiving the Honda Award, and I am humbled to have been selected from among the other talented athletes in Division III athletics,” says Fournier. “I am grateful for the support of my teammates, coaches, family and the Tufts community throughout this journey. I feel privileged to have made many unforgettable friends and memories, and I am excited to participate in two more years of Division III athletics.”

Fournier, named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, led the Jumbos to a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over SUNY Cortland, striking out seven of the last eight batters in the NCAA Division III women’s softball national championship final held in Eau Claire, Wisc., on May 20.  In the first three games of the NCAA finals, Fournier allowed only one run and 12 hits in 22 innings.

The 7th-ranked Jumbos of Tufts were the first New England team to win the NCAA Softball Championship since Eastern Connecticut State University in 1990, and ended the season with a 46-3 record, en route to their first-ever national championship title. Fournier ended her sophomore campaign with a 25-1 record and leads the nation in earned run average (0.59) with only 13 earned runs.  She struck out 272 batters in 154 innings with two saves.

“Allyson is a fierce competitor on the mound, a humble teammate in the locker room and a workaholic on the practice field,” says Tufts head coach Cheryl Milligan, J98, G01. “It is no coincidence that these attributes have led to such a prestigious award. She is a huge part of our team and has fit into our culture seamlessly by being the kind of kid who makes a coach proud and fellow teammates better, all the while maintaining an unassuming air. We could not have achieved our team success without her.”

The Honda Sports Award for Division III Athlete of the Year is presented annually to the top woman athlete across 11 NCAA-sanctioned sports: basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field and volleyball. One nominee is chosen from each sport based on results from national championships, or on assessments by coaches’ panels or All-America committees.

Fournier was chosen by a vote of coaches from NCAA member schools. Finalists included University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s Samantha Barber (basketball), University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh’s Christy Cazzola (cross country), MIT’s Molly McShane (field hockey), University of Texas at Tyler’s Laura Lindsey (golf), Salisbury University’s Ashton Wheatley (lacrosse), Messiah College’s Alexandra Brandt (soccer), Williams College’s Caroline Wilson (swimming and diving), Middlebury College’s Lok-Sze Leung (tennis), Illinois College’s Melissa Norville (track and field) and Calvin College’s Lizzie Kamp (volleyball).

The Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for 37 years, recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $2.5 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs.