nfca, naia, nfca player of the year, nfca pitcher of the year, nfca freshman of the year, Schutt Sports, Schutt Sports/nfca freshman of the Year, Schutt Sports/nfca Player of the Year, Schutt Sports/nfca Pitcher of the Year, Emily Loveless, Allison Golic, Maile Deutsch

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Saint Xavier University's Allison Golic, McPherson College’s Maile Deutsch and Reinhardt University's Emily Loveless were voted Schutt Sports / NFCA Pitcher, Player and Freshman of the Year, the Association announced on Tuesday afternoon. Loveless is the inaugural winner of the freshman honor.

Golic is the second Cougar to earn a postseason honor from the NFCA, joining 2016 Player of the Year Nicole Nonnemacher. The Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year finished 24-4 on the season with a 1.38 ERA, 23 complete games and 10 shutouts. Golic, a NFCA First-Team All-American, tossed four no-hitters and one perfect game. She registered a career-high 241 strikeouts to just 23 walks for a 10.48 strikeout-to-walk ratio and limited opponents to a .173 batting average. Golic finished the season ranked top-10 nationally in opponent’s batting average (8th) and wins (9th). 

Deutsch was the NAIA’s 2021 batting champion. A NFCA First-Team All-American, Deutsch batted .515 (67-for-130), recording at least one hit in 33 of 42 games with 22 multi-hit contests. Deutsch’s .862 slugging percentage ranked fourth, her 1.64 hits per game sixth and was seventh with 21 doubles. She also registered a .594 on-base percentage, which combined with her slugging numbers, put her OPS at 1.456.

Loveless, a second-team NFCA All-American, played and started every game, leading the Eagles with a .428 average. Loveless collected 80 hits and 52 RBIs, launched 12 homers and registered 15 doubles. She also scored 62 runs, walked 28 times, posted a .500 on-base percentage and slugged .722.

The Player of the Year award was created to honor the outstanding athletic achievements among softball student-athletes throughout the NAIA. In 2019, the Association expanded the award to include a Player and Pitcher of the Year. To be eligible, student-athletes must be nominated by their member head coach. 

Past winners of the award are Oklahoma City University’s Jaci Smith (Player / 2019), Southern Oregon University’s Gabby Sandoval (Pitcher / 2019), University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma’s Emily Cerny (2018), Indiana Wesleyan University’s Kaisey Carson (2017) and Nonnemacher.

The Freshman of the Year award honors the outstanding athletic achievement among freshman softball student-athletes throughout NAIA. To be eligible, student-athletes must come from a NFCA member institution. With the cancellation of last year’s season due to COVID-19, eligible candidates were selected from the 2020 and 2021 freshman classes.

NFCA All-Region and All-American athletes must be nominated by their NFCA-member head coach, are voted for by the coaches in their region or division, and ultimately selected by elected All-American committee members to receive this prestigious accolade.  These honorees are in the top 1% of student-athletes competing during the 2021 season.  All special awards are also selected and voted on by the All-American committee members or by the entire division.

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