Five Utah Valley University softball players and coaches earned 2018 All-Western Athletic Conference softball honors on Tuesday evening at the pre-tournament banquet on the campus of New Mexico State University.
The Wolverines took home three of the league's four major awards on the season, as senior right-hander Makayla Shadle was named the WAC Pitcher of the Year, freshman first baseman Peyton Angulo was tabbed the WAC Freshman of the Year and head coach TJ Hubbard took home WAC Coach of the Year honors. Shadle, Angulo and sophomore second baseman Lyndsay Steverson also earned first-team All-WAC accolades, while junior outfielder Brianna Moeller was tabbed to the league's second team.
The awards mark the second-consecutive season that UVU has earned both the WAC Pitcher and Freshman of the Year honors after current Wolverines Lauren Frailey Spendlove and Caragh Morris took home the respective honors last season. It also marks the first time that Shadle, Angulo, Steverson and Moeller have received All-WAC recognition.
"I'm super proud of our kids and super proud of the work that they put in. I'm thrilled for them to finally get the recognition that they deserve," said Hubbard. "I'm looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for this team."
Shadle, a senior right-hander from Dayton, Nevada, earns WAC Pitcher of the Year honors after leading the WAC in ERA (1.26) and strikeouts (33) and ranking second in wins (four) and opponent batting average (.210) in WAC play. She went 4-2 with a save in 11 appearances, allowing just eight earned runs in 44.1 innings pitched. She also didn't surrender an earned run in her last five conference appearances, as she went a perfect 2-0 with a save in her final 16 innings of action.
"I was a little surprised. I wasn't quite expecting this, but I'm super honored to have earned the award," Shadle said. "The team really clicked down the stretch, and I think that is what kind of brought it together for us. I have a lot of confidence in my teammates and I'm so proud of all of them."
Angulo, a first baseman from Upland, California, earns WAC Freshman of the Year honors after batting .364 with five multi-hit games, three doubles and eight RBIs in 14 WAC games. She tied for eighth in league play in doubles per game (0.21), ninth in batting average and tied for ninth in hits per game (1.14). She also hit better than .400 for more than a month of the season and posted 11-game hitting and 17-game reached base safely streaks earlier in the year.
"This was a surprise for sure, but I'm very, very grateful to have earned this award," Angulo said. "This team is special and things really clicked for us during the conference season. Thank you again for this award, and I'm very excited to see what my team can do this week."
Hubbard earns his first WAC Coach of the Year recognition after Utah Valley posted its highest WAC regular-season finish by placing second in conference play with a 10-4 league record after being selected to finish fourth in the preseason poll. The Wolverines won eight of their last nine WAC games, including road sweeps at Kansas City and CSU Bakersfield. Utah Valley also won its first series in program history over regular-season champion NM State by taking two of three games from the Aggies. Hubbard, who is in his second year at the helm at Utah Valley and eighth season as an NCAA Division I head coach, will enter the tournament just three wins shy of recording his 200th career victory.
"This is a great honor. It is a privilege to be in the situation that we were in, and I'm grateful for the girls. I couldn't have earned this award without them," Hubbard added. "I'm very thankful and grateful."
Steverson, a sophomore second baseman from Mesa, Arizona, earns first-team all-conference accolades after leading the team in WAC-only play with a .370 batting average. She also collected four extra-base hits with two homers and two doubles, 12 RBIs, five runs scored and four walks. The Wolverine sophomore also led the WAC in sacrifice flies in league play with two and ranked eighth in hits (17) and ninth in total bases (25). Overall on the season, Steverson leads Utah Valley in home runs (eight), RBIs (36) and total bases (71).
Moeller, a junior outfielder from Phoenix, Arizona, rounds out UVU's award winners after taking home second-team all-conference recognition as she hit .346 in WAC-only play with five extra-base hits, a team-high 10 runs scored, three RBIs and two stolen bases. She also ranks fourth in the WAC in doubles in league play (four), fifth in hits (18) and ties for fifth in runs scored (10). Overall on the season, Moeller leads UVU with a .361 average, a .571 slugging percentage, 17 extra-base hits and 29 runs scored.
The awards were voted on by the league's six head coaches.
After earning the No. 2 seed for the WAC Tournament by posting a program-high 10-4 WAC record, the Wolverines have earned a first-round bye. UVU opens tournament play on Thursday, May 10, at 1 p.m. MT, at the NM State Softball Complex against either No. 3 Seattle U or No. 6 UMKC.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.