PHILADELPHIA – Fresh off completing one of the most illustrious careers in school history, senior Leah Allen of the University of Pennsylvania's softball team has been named the 2017 Ivy League Player of the Year. Allen’s selection highlights five All-Ivy nods for the Quakers as announced by the league office on Thursday.
Allen is the fourth Player of the Year in program history, and the first since Christina Khosravi earned the honor in 2008. She is also just the fourth player in the history of the Ivy League to win both the conference's Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year.
Senior Alexis Sargent joins Allen on the Ivy League First Team while junior Jurie Joyner earned second-team honors. For the second-straight season, sophomores Sarah Cwiertnia and Sam Pederson each received honorable-mention accolades.
Allen, who has been named All-Ivy in each of her four seasons, capped it all off with one of the best single seasons in recent memory. The team captain led the Quakers in almost every offensive category, including batting average (.408), slugging percentage (.697), home runs (nine), and on-base percentage (.434). In addition, she led the Ivy League and broke Penn’s single-season record for stolen bases with 20. Allen did most of her damage when it mattered most—during the Ivy season. In 20 conference games, she led the league with a .429 batting average, seven long balls, 23 RBIs and 21 runs scored.
Along the way, Allen supplemented her terrific campaign by achieving an array of Penn’s career records as well. She leaves the Red and Blue as the program’s all-time leader in home runs (33), RBIs (135), triples (10) and stolen bases (61). Allen also ranks second on the Quakers’ career hits list with 188 knocks. Allen was the only Quaker to start all 40 games (centerfield), recording multiple hits in half of those contests. She ended the season on a 14-game hitting streak.
Sargent, the stalwart of Penn’s pitching staff, earns first-team accolades for the second-straight season. The right-hander led the Ivy League in every major pitching category, including wins, ERA and strikeouts. Sargent went 13-9 in the circle with 101 strikeouts and a 2.53 ERA. In addition, she ranked third in the Ivy League with 130 innings pitched. Sargent also provided a spark as a hitter, finishing the year with a .290 batting average, 11 RBIs and a team-high nine doubles.
Like Allen, Sargent graduates with some of the best career numbers in school history. This season, she moved into second on Penn’s all-time wins list (34) and strikeouts list (294). In addition, Sargent departs Penn with the third-lowest ERA (2.44) in program history. She also ranks seventh in the offensive history books in career RBIs (88) and home runs (15).
Joyner nabs her third All-Ivy nod after yet another highly productive season. Splitting time between catcher and designated player, she ranked second behind Allen in almost every offensive category. Joyner batted .364 in the middle of the lineup with 40 hits, five home runs and a pair of triples. She was especially impressive down the stretch, posting a .379 batting average and nine RBIs over her final 10 games. Amongst many notable moments, Joyner rocketed a game-tying solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning against Dartmouth in a game that Penn ended up winning in extras.
Pederson was one of the best Quakers during the Ivy season, and seemed to shine brightest against Penn’s toughest opponents. The second baseman put together a .342 batting average and a .375 on-base percentage against conference foes, including a 5-for-14 stretch during the Princeton series. In addition, Pederson went 6-for-12 with three RBIs in the Quakers’ final three games over spring break against South Florida, Boston College and Central Connecticut.
Cwiertnia was Penn’s top run producer in 2017, leading the squad with 29 RBIs. She also batted a stellar .333 at the dish with three doubles and a pair of long balls. Cwiertnia, who seemed to deliver in the clutch all season long, recorded a walk-off single in the ninth inning to defeat Dartmouth. She was twice named to the Ivy League’s weekly honor roll.