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Head Coach Amanda Lehotak and seniors Reina Furuya and Erin Pond kicked off the 2016 season with spring sports media day
The incoming 2017 freshman class consists of two catchers, one outfielder and a pitcher
The Nittany Lions will play 20 home games in 2016 as well as host the Big Ten Tournament
The Nittany Lions are slated to play four doubleheaders in the 2015 fall campaign
Nittany Lion juniors selected for Second Team by conference coaches
Lehotak led the Nittany Lions to a 29-28 record in the 2015 campaign and a 9-14 record in Big Ten Conference action. Lexi Knief led the team with a .417 batting average en route to earning Second Team All-Big Ten honors and NFCA All-Region accolades, while her 75 hits in a single season set a Penn State record. Also earning Second Team All-Big Ten honors in 2015 was Macy Jones, who batted .343 in the 2015 campaign and tied for a team-high 46 RBI. As a team, Penn State broke five single season hitting records including: doubles (73), home runs (46), runs (287), RBI (267) and total bases (678). The Nittany Lion's 46 home runs in the 2015 campaign marked the first time since 2013 that the Blue and White had hit over 40 round-trippers in a season. Furthermore, the 2015 Nittany Lions posted a .296 batting average, which ties for a program-high, while their 449 hits rank second in Penn State laurels. Penn State also had five individuals rank in the Nittany Lion softball top-10 in 10 separate hitting categories and four rank in the top-10 in the Big Ten Conference. Moreover, six Nittany Lions found a place in six single game hitting catergories, including Jones scoring four runs against Wisconsin to rank first and Alyssa VanDerveer notching four walks to rank first in single game history for the Blue and White.
Penn State set a NCAA record when it hit two grand slams in one inning against Wisconsin, Apr. 3, while VanDerveer hit three grand slams in 2015, which ties for third in NCAA history. The Blue and White's two grand slams came from Shelby Miller and Reina Furuya, who both launched grand slams in the fourth inning against Wisconsin, allowing them to be featured in Sports Illustrated. Penn State followed up the grand slam performance with back-to-back games with a grand slam in a doubleheader against Bucknell. Kristina Brackpool notched a grand slam in game one, while VanDerveer followed it up with a grand slam in game two against the Bison, Apr 1. As a team, Penn State hit seven grand slams in the 2015 campaign. Furthermore, the Nittany Lions posted a 12-game streak with 10 or more hits and 11-straight games with at least one home run.
Defensively, Miller notched Big Ten Defensive Team honors posting a .985 fielding percentage with 55 putouts and 80 assists. In the circle, Marlaina Laubach etched her name in Penn State laurels after making 34 appearances in the 2015 campaign.
The Blue and White advanced to the Big Ten Conference quarterfinal after defeating Maryland in the opening round and moved up two spots from the 2014 season in the regular season standings, finishing in a tie for eighth. In the classroom, 10 players earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, while Kneif and Alicia Walker garnered Big Ten Distinguished Scholar honors.
In her inaugural season at the helm of the program in 2014, Lehotak led the Nittany Lions to a 14-35 overall record with a 5-18 Big Ten record, finishing a spot higher in the conference standings than the year prior. Four players batted over .300 with Lexi Knief earning All-Big Ten second team accolades. Lehotak's team also achieved success in the classroom; nine players were named to the Academic All-Big Ten team and Alicia Walker garnered Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award honors.
Under Lehotak's tutelage, Lexi Knief scored four runs against Oregon State to tie for most runs in a single game, while Shelby Miller ties for second with three walks and tied for seventh with seven assists in a single game. Furthermore, Kneif ranked ninth in single season history with a .382 batting average in the 2014 campaign.
Named the seventh coach in program history on July 22, 2013, Lehotak came to Penn State with seven years of head coaching experience under her belt, including the previous two seasons at Texas-San Antonio.
Lehotak guided the Roadrunners to a 27-26 overall record in 2013 to give the program just their second winning overall record in the last seven years. She also led the team to a fifth-place finish and a berth in the WAC Tournament in UTSA's first season in the conference. Additionally, Darian Blake was named to the All-WAC first team.
In her first season at UTSA, Lehotak and the Roadrunners posted a 24-28 overall record and 12-8 mark in Southland Conference play en route to a third-place finish, which was the program's highest finish since 2009. She had five players earn All-Southland honors in 2012, including Freshman of the Year Megan Low.
Prior to her time at UTSA, Lehotak spent six seasons at Jacksonville University, including five as the head coach. The Dolphins improved their win total each of Lehotak's five seasons at the helm, culminating in a 44-16 overall record and 18-2 conference mark in 2011.
That season, Jacksonville won the Atlantic Sun regular-season and tournament titles on its way to the first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. Lehotak was selected as the 2011 Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year as her squad set school records for home runs, earned run average, shutouts and fielding percentage. Lehotak left Jacksonville with a school-record 137 wins.
In 2010, Lehotak led the Dolphins to a then-second-best win total in program history with a 33-23 overall record. Additionally, a then-program-record five student-athletes earned All-Atlantic Sun recognition under her guidance in 2010.
In addition to her one season as an assistant coach at Jacksonville, Lehotak was also an assistant coach at Missouri Western State for one season where she was responsible for recruiting, working with the outfielders, hitting instruction, coordinating camps and clinics, as well as managing the team's travel schedule.
She also served as an assistant coach at Daniel J. Gross High School in Bellevue, Neb. and was an interim assistant coach at College of Saint Mary in Omaha (2004).
A native of Omaha, Neb., Lehotak played collegiately at the University of Mississippi for two seasons (2000-01) before finishing her career at Nebraska-Omaha (2002-03). She set the single-season hits record in 2001 at Ole Miss and was a third team All-American at UNO with a pair of first team All-North Central Conference selections. Lehotak earned her bachelor's degree in family science from Nebraska-Omaha in 2003.
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