Message From The Coach
Head coach Leslie King recently completed her 12th season at the helm of the University of Pennsylvania softball team. Since her arrival at Penn, King led the program to its first ever NCAA playoff appearance in 2013 and has coached 40 players who earned 79 All-Ivy honors and six players who earned Ivy League Yearly Awards, including two-time Player of the Year Christina Khosravi (2006, 2008). Other major award winners include Jurie Joyner (2015 Rookie of the Year), Leah Allen (2014 Rookie of the Year), Alexis Borden (2012 Rookie of the Year), Jessie Lupardus (2008 Rookie of the Year), and Annie Kinsey (2007 Player of the Year). In addition to being named the 2007 Player of the Year and a four-time first-team All-Ivy selection, Kinsey was also named to the Easton All-American second team. Under the direction of King, seven players – Alexis Borden, Sydney Turchin, Elysse Gorney, Brooke Coloma, Alisha Prystowsky, Keiko Uraguchi, and Annie Kinsey -- were named All-Ivy in each of their four seasons.
After adding seven freshmen to the roster to bring the team total to 25 players for the 2015 season, the Quakers captured their fourth straight South Division Championship title, fifth under King, and the senior class of Alexis Borden, Jen Retzer, Sydney Turchin, and Vanessa Weaver became the first class in program history to go to the Ivy League Championship Series all four years. While at Cornell, Borden became just the sixth player in Ivy League history to reach the 600 career strikeout milestone. Despite dropping both games on Saturday of the ILCS at Dartmouth, the Red and Blue ended the year with the most All-Ivy selections out of the Ancient Eight. Freshman Jurie Joyner was tabbed as the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and was also a unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection. Junior captain Lauren Li was also a unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection, while Turchin earned her first first-team All-Ivy nod. Leah Allen, Borden, Korinne Raby, and Vanessa Weaver were named second-team All-Ivy, with Raby and Weaver earning their first Ivy recognition. Penn finished the season 22-20 overall and 13-7 in Ivy League play.
With a young Red and Blue team -- 10 of the 21 players were freshman -- King led the Quakers to the program’s fourth South Division crown, which advanced Penn to the 2014 Ivy League Championship Series. The Red and Blue finished the season with an overall record of 19-22-1 and a 13-6-1 Ivy League record. Eight Quakers received All-Ivy awards, which was the most earned by any of the Ancient Eight programs. Freshman Leah Allen, who set new marks in the single-season records for home runs (13) and RBI (43), was unanimously named Ivy League Rookie of the Year, which was the first unanimous decision for the award since 2011. In addition, Allen was unanimously named first-team All-Ivy. Also making the first-team was Elysse Gorney and Kanani Datan. Second-team honorees included Alexis Borden, Sydney Turchin, and Alexis Sargent, while Kayla Dahlerbruch and Lauren Li were named All-Ivy Honorable Mention.
In the most historic season of the program, the Red and Blue recorded a school record of 16 Ivy wins and a victory in the 2013 Ivy League Championship Series, where the Quakers captured their second-ever Ivy title and first-ever trip to the NCAA Championships. When playing Arizona, Georgia Guttadauro made a diving catch and earned the No. 2 spot on ESPN SportCenter’s Top 10 plays. Guttadauro also received first-team All-Ivy and was one of nine Quakers to receive All-Ivy awards, which were the most earned by any of the Ancient Eight programs. Alexis Borden, Stephanie Caso, Brooke Coloma, and Jessica Melendez earned first-team All-Ivy; Samantha Erosa and Sydney Turchin received second-team honors; while Elysse Gorney and Lauren Li were All-Ivy Honorable Mention. Penn finished with an overall record of 30-20 and a 16-4 Ivy League record.
The 2012 Quakers won a program-record 33 games, including a 15-5 mark in Ivy League play. Penn also advanced to the Ivy League Championship Series for the second time in program history and had eight players (three first and second-team, along with two honorable mention) earn All-Ivy accolades including Alexis Borden named as the Ivy League Rookie of the Year.
The 2011 season saw Penn once again win at least 18 games for the fifth time in six seasons, a mark that was reached just once prior to King's hiring. Alisha Prystowsky earned her third first-team All-Ivy Selection, while three others earned Honorable mention All-Ivy.
In 2010, the Quakers finished with 19 victories, giving them the third most wins in a season in the program's history. They placed second in the Ivy League South Division with a 12-8 record, led by second-team All-Ivy selections Keiko Uraguchi and Alisha Prystowsky. Two others were named honorable mention.
In 2009, Penn finished second in the Ivy South Division, with seven players receiving All-Ivy recognition, including first-team selections Alisha Prystowsky and Kelsey Wolfe.
In 2008, King coached both the Ivy League Player of the Year and the Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Christina Khrosravi was named Ivy Player of the Year for the second time in her career, while Jessie Lupardus was named Rookie of the Year. The duo of Annie Kinsey and Khrosravi also finished at the top of most season and career offensive records at Penn. As a team, the Quakers set a new program record for wins in a season with 26.
During the 2007 season, the Red and Blue won the first Ivy League South Division title in the first year of divisional play. As a team, they set program records for runs scored (231), doubles (68), home runs (46), RBI (216), and slugging percentage (.494). Penn also made a name for itself on a national level. The Quakers' defense led the nation in double plays per game (0.60) for almost the entire season. The team was also atop the Ivy League in multiple categories. The Quakers led the league in slugging percentage, on-base percentage (.378) and home runs, and were second in the Ancient Eight in batting average, runs, doubles, and RBI.
In 2006, the team went 18-26, tying an all-time record for wins at Penn. The team led the Ivy League in batting average, slugging percentage, hits, doubles, triples, walks and RBI's. Christina Khosravi's batting average of .407 was good for fourth all-time, and Annie Kinsey's average of .393 was good for seventh all-time.
Prior to Penn, King was the head coach at George Washington University where she was instrumental in developing softball into a varsity sport for its inaugural season in 2003. Prior to her stint at GW, King was the assistant softball coach at Lock Haven University where she helped lead the team to a school-record 37 wins and a berth in the NCAA Regionals in 2002.
For 14 years, King was the starting shortstop for the New Zealand National softball team and served as captain of the squad that qualified for the Olympics in 2000. She was named the 2000 New Zealand Player of the Year, and her team won a silver medal at the World Championships that same season.
A dual athlete, King also played for the New Zealand soccer team. She captained the squad at the 1991 FIFA World Cup.
Her coaching tenure began in 1982 when she was a hitting and catching instructor for the Grand Slam Academy and served as a clinician at the Cal State Fullerton softball summer camp. King also served as the regional coach for the New Zealand Softball Association and was a player/coach for the Ramblers and Metro softball clubs in that country until 1991.
King earned a bachelor's degree in physical education from Cal State Fullerton in 1985. While at Fullerton, she was an Academic All-America nominee and a three-time member of the Dean's List.
A four-year starter at catcher for the nationally ranked Fullerton softball program, King was a three-time all-conference honoree and helped lead her team to the Women's College World Series three times including a pair of runner-up finishes. After her collegiate career, King earned a spot on the 1985 USA National Team that toured South Korea and China.