PHILADELPHIA – The Ivy League announced its softball All-Conference teams on Thursday, with seven Quakers nabbing All-Ivy honors. Leah Allen, Lauren Li and Alexis Sargent led the way on the First Team, while Kanani Datan was named to the Second Team. Sam Pederson, Sarah Cwiertnia, and Jurie Joyner received Honorable Mention honors. It is the fifth-consecutive year in which Penn notched at least three players on the All-Ivy First Team.
Sargent was also recognized by the National Fastpitch Coaches’ Association (NFCA) on Thursday, as she was named to the Mid-Atlantic All-Region Third Team.
It was a year of milestones for Allen, as she tied a pair of program records while also climbing the Penn ladder in a few more. The junior slugger knocked five triples this spring, which tied Penn’s record for a single season (Laurie Nestler, 2004). She also hammered six home runs, which tied her atop the Quakers’ all-time list with Annie Kinsey (2005-08). Additionally, Allen finished the season with a conference-best 41 RBI. It is the second time in her career that she eclipsed 40 RBI in a single season. In addition to triples, RBI and home runs, Allen also led the Red and Blue in slugging percentage (.579) and steals (15). She now has 41 stolen bases in her career, which sits one shy of former teammate Sydney Turchin’s career mark. Allen was named Ivy League Player of the Week in consecutive weeks on March 22 and 29.
Li was a unanimous first teamer for a second-consecutive season, completing her career with four all-conference nods. The senior captain appeared in all 44 games for the Quakers, seeing time at both pitcher and third base. Although she did notch a 6-5 record in the circle (4-2 against the Ivy League), Li was especially stellar at the dish. En route to registering a .323 batting average, Li smashed four home runs and a team-high eight doubles. In addition, she ranked second on the squad in slugging percentage (.496), RBI (21), and total bases (63). Li ends her tenure as one of the most versatile players in Penn history, eclipsing 100 career hits and recording 19 pitching wins.
Speaking of versatility, Sargent put together a breakout 2016 at the dish and in the circle. The senior-to-be was named the Ivy League Pitcher of the Week a conference-best four times, including three consecutive nods from March 15 to March 29. Sargent led the Ancient Eight in both strikeouts (124) and ERA (2.29), while ranking third in wins (12) and innings pitched (131.1). She was especially dominant in non-conference action, tallying an 8-1 record with a 0.93 ERA over her first 11 appearances. Offensively, Sargent finished the year with a .320 batting average, seven doubles, and 19 RBI. Additionally, she ranked third on the team in both walks (11), and on-base percentage (.395).
Datan grabs second-team honors following a stellar senior campaign. The team captain provided a jolt at the top of Penn’s lineup, putting together a .317 batting average with 16 runs scored and 11 RBI. Datan was especially disruptive against Ivy League opponents, leading the Red and Blue in both hits (27) and batting (.375) in 20 conference games. In addition, Datan racked up 11 multi-hit games, including five contests with at least three knocks. Datan also proved to be one of the Quakers’ best defensive players, making just a pair of errors in 37 starts in center field.
Pederson leads the way for the trio of Quakers that received honorable mention by the league. The rookie second baseman made quite the debut in the Red and Blue, leading the Quakers in hits (52), batting average (.391) and on-base percentage (.418). Additionally, she piled up a team-high 16 multi-hit contests, while also racking up 20 runs scored and 14 RBI. Pederson was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week on April 26 after going 11-for-23 with four runs scored and four stolen bases in a four-game sweep of Cornell.
Cwiertnia joins her classmate following an equally impressive first year in University City. The powerful first baseman broke out during Penn’s four-game series at Princeton, going 6-for-11 with a home run, three doubles and four RBI. Cwiertnia finished the season ranked second on the Quakers in hitting (.347) and third in slugging (.480). In addition, Cwiertnia posted six doubles, two triples and 12 RBI.
Joyner, the 2015 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, ended the year on an offensive tear reminiscent of a year ago. Over Penn’s final 17 games, Joyner recorded a .373 batting average with 17 RBI, five home runs, four doubles, and seven runs scored. Her five home runs ranked second on the team, and all came during the team’s final 14 contests. Joyner wrapped up the year with a .270 batting average, seven doubles, 20 RBI, and nine runs scored.
As a team, the Quakers tallied 23 wins this season, their highest total since 2013.