VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The National Champion Virginia Wesleyan University softball team came away with three of the four major honors for the Virginia Sports Information Directors All-State awards as Hanna Hull was named the Pitcher of the Year, Cassetty Howerin the Player of the Year and Coach Brandon Elliott the Coach of the Year. Joining them on the All-State honor roll is Madison Glaubke, who collected First Team honors and Kiersten Richardson with a spot on the Second Team.
Her second-straight year being named the All-State Pitcher of the Year, Hull was absolutely dominant from the circle, as her 376 strikeouts not only eclipsed her freshman year mark, but also led all players in Division III. Her ability to limit her opponents was unparalleled, throwing 11 one hitters, a no-hitter against Ithaca College in the National Championship and a Perfect Game against Salem College. The lefty hurler tore through the record books as well this season. Hull earned 40 wins in the circle tying a Division III record and smashing the ODAC record. Five of those wins came in the NCAA Championship as well, where she went a perfect 5-0. She also tossed 279.1 innings which eclipsed both the ODAC and Virginia Wesleyan record. Career-wise, the Chesterfield, Va. native toppled the conference record for strikeouts (738) and wins (72). At the year's end, Hull was named the NFCA DIII Player of the Year as well as a First Team All-American to go along with a slew of other accolades.
Now a three time All-State Player of the Year as well as a three-time All-America First Teamer, Howerin has only gotten better in her final season as a Marlin. The senior dominated from the plate, batting .424 with team-leading 64 hits, including 26 for extra bags. At the conclusion of the year, she had 62 RBI which gave her a career total of 221 (6th-most ever in Division III). Howerin has had a terrific eye at the plate too as she has only struck out three times the entire year and broke the Division III career walk record with 136. The Dover, Del. native has also been an impact on the base paths, stealing 26 bags and crossing home plate 49 times this year. Much like her teammates, Howerin too has been recognized for her duty this year, earning a spot on the All-ODAC First Team as well as being named the NCAA Regional Round Most Valuable Player and a member of the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team.
Glaubke was a force in the beginning of the lineup for the Marlins, appearing in all 58 games for VWU. The sophomore knocked 60 hits (third-most in the ODAC) and posted a batting average of .361. Glaubke trounced nearly every hitting category in her second year, including racking up 34 RBI and 18 extra-base hits. One of her top moments came in the NCAA Championship series against Illinois Wesleyan as she cranked to momentum changing home runs. The Virginia Beach local was named the ODAC's Player of the Year as well.
Richardson capped her career with her first appearance on an All-State squad. The leadoff hitter was critical to the Marlin game plan as she racked up 62 hits (second most in the ODAC). When on base, the former Golden Shoe winner used her speed to steal a team-high 47 bags and cross the plate a conference-leading 63 times. Richardson had her shining moment in the NCAA Super Regional as she clinched the Marlins a spot in Oklahoma City with a game-winning single in the eighth inning against No. 4 Berry.
In his 11th year at the helm, Brandon Elliott did what few other coaches can say they have accomplished and that is to win back-to-back National titles. Only done four times in Division III history, Elliott guided his team back to Oklahoma City for the NCAA Championships and left with hardware in hand. Despite a plethora of new faces on his staff, the program seemed stronger than ever as they set the new Division III record for wins in a season with 55. The schedule boasted games against 20 ranked opponents, but through solid leadership, the squad came out victorious in all but two of them. To go along with the impressive record, Virginia Wesleyan would be ranked the top team in Division III for the entirety of the season and would also claim the title of ODAC regular season champs as well as ODAC Championship honors.