Big Ten Conference Announces 2022 Softball Postseason Honors
Nebraska and Northwestern standouts earn individual awards
ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference announced the 2022 All-Big Ten Softball Teams and individual awards Wednesday, with Big Ten Champion Northwestern and Nebraska earning individual accolades through a vote of the conference’s 14 head coaches.
The Wildcats captured three of the four individual awards. Graduate student outfielder Rachel Lewis was selected as the Player of the Year, while senior Danielle Williams was unanimously chosen as the Pitcher of the Year and Kate Drohanearned Coach of the Year honors. In addition, Nebraska catcher Ava Bredwell was named Freshman of the Year.
Lewis is the fifth Northwestern student-athlete to earn the Big Ten Player of the Year award, with Wildcat standouts having now received that honor a total of eight times. The most recent Player of the Year to come from Northwestern was Tammy Williams, who collected back-to-back awards in 2008 and 2009.
With Williams’ selection, three Northwestern hurlers have garnered Big Ten Pitcher of the Year accolades four times, most recently in 2008 with Lauren Delaney captured the award. Williams is also the sixth unanimous Pitcher of the Year honoree in conference history and the third in as many seasons, following Minnesota’s Amber Fiser in 2019 and Michigan’s Alex Storako in 2021 (no awards were presented in 2020 after the season ended early due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Bredwell makes program history as the first Nebraska student-athlete to earn Freshman of the Year plaudits since the Huskers joined the conference prior to the 2012 season. She is just the third Nebraska player chosen as Freshman of the Year in any conference and first since 1997, when Jennifer Lizama was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year.
This marks the fourth Big Ten Coach of the Year honor for Drohan, and second in three seasons, having previously earned recognition from her peers in 2005, 2006 and 2019. It’s also the sixth time Northwestern has produced the Big Ten Coach of the Year, with Sharon Drysdale receiving the award in 1987 and 1995.
A native of Liberty Township, Ohio, Lewis leads the Big Ten in five offensive categories — home runs (20), RBI (50), runs scored (58), slugging percentage (.855), OPS (1.355) — while also tying for second in stolen bases (22) and ranking third in total bases (118), and batting .362 this season. During conference play, she hit 12 home runs, matching the Big Ten record for most in a non-COVID season (Michigan’s Sierra Romero in 2013).
Williams, who was among the top 25 finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, is on pace to win the Big Ten’s Triple Crown of pitching, currently leading the conference with a 25-3 record, a 1.49 ERA and 270 strikeouts. The Pleasanton, Calif, resident has also tossed 19 complete games and 10 shutouts, while holding opponents to a .167 batting average. During conference play, she led the Big Ten with a 14-2 record and 139 strikeouts, while ranking fourth with a 1.99 ERA, throwing 10 complete games.
Bredwell, a product of Shawnee, Kan., has started 34 of 41 games in her rookie season at Nebraska, batting .329 with an .866 OPS and .488 slugging percentage. She also has two home runs and 15 RBI to her credit.
Drohan has guided Northwestern to a 39-9 record and its eighth Big Ten championship (first since 2008). Northwestern has consistently been ranked among the top 25 in all major national polls, currently standing 11th in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA)/USA Today poll and No. 9 in the USA Softball/ESPN.com poll. The Wildcats, who have won 15 of their last 18 games, are one of seven Big Ten teams among the top 40 in the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) entering this week’s Big Ten Tournament.
Lewis and Williams were named first-team All-Big Ten performers and were joined on the 18-member squad by Illinois’ Avrey Steiner, Indiana’s Cora Bassett, Maryland’s Jaeda McFarland, Michigan’s Lexie Blair and Alex Storako, Nebraska’s Abbie Squier and Cam Ybarra, Northwestern’s Hannah Cady, Nikki Cuchran and Jordyn Rudd, Ohio State’s Niki Carver, Penn State’s Bailey Parshall, Purdue’s Rachel Becker, Rutgers’ Gabrielle Callaway and Kyleigh Sand, and Wisconsin’s Kayla Konwent. Lewis and Williams were both unanimous first-team selections.
Ten of the 14 conference schools placed at least one player on the 20-person All-Big Ten Second Team, while nine students were voted to the conference’s All-Defensive Team and 11 chosen for the Big Ten All-Freshman Team, including Bredwell.
The Big Ten also announced the 14 Sportsmanship Award honorees from each institution. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.
The complete All-Big Ten teams and individual honorees can be found below.
2022 Big Ten Softball All-Conference Teams and Individual Awards
(as selected by the Big Ten coaches — players in ALL CAPS were unanimous selections)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Rachel Lewis, Grad., OF, Northwestern
PITCHER OF THE YEAR: DANIELLE WILLIAMS, Sr., P, Northwestern
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Ava Bredwell, C, Nebraska
COACH OF THE YEAR: Kate Drohan, Northwestern
First Team All-Big Ten
Avrey Steiner, Sr., 2B, Illinois
Cora Bassett, Sr., 2B, Indiana
Jaeda McFarland, So., OF, Maryland
Lexie Blair, Sr., 1B, Michigan
Alex Storako, Sr., P, Michigan
Abbie Squier, So., OF, Nebraska
Cam Ybarra, Sr., 2B, Nebraska
Hannah Cady, So., 3B, Northwestern
Nikki Cuchran, Sr., 1B, Northwestern
RACHEL LEWIS, Grad., OF, Northwestern
Jordyn Rudd, Sr., C, Northwestern
DANIELLE WILLIAMS, Sr., P, Northwestern
Niki Carver, Sr., 1B, Ohio State
Bailey Parshall, Sr., P, Penn State
Rachel Becker, Sr., SS, Purdue
Gabrielle Callaway, Grad., OF, Rutgers
Kyleigh Sand, So., SS, Rutgers
Kayla Konwent, Sr., DP, Wisconsin
Second Team All-Big Ten*
Kailee Powell, Sr., 1B, Illinois
Sydney Sickels, Sr., P, Illinois
Taylor Minnick, Fr., OF, Indiana
Megan Mikami, So., OF, Maryland
Hannah Carson, Sr., C, Michigan
Audrey LeClair, Jr. OF, Michigan
Melina Livingston, Grad., 2B, Michigan
Natalie DenHartog, Sr., OF, Minnesota
Chloe Evans, So., OF, Minnesota
Billie Andrews, So., SS, Nebraska
Mya Felder, Jr., 1B, Nebraska
Olivia Ferrell, Sr., P, Nebraska
Maeve Nelson, Sr., SS, Northwestern
Skylar Shellmyer, Sr., OF, Northwestern
Sam Hackenbracht, Jr., DP, Ohio State
Lexie Handley, Sr., P, Ohio State
Cassie Lindmark, Jr., C, Penn State
Fiona Girardot, Jr., 1B, Wisconsin
Ally Miklesh, Sr., OF, Wisconsin
Maddie Schwartz, Sr., P, Wisconsin
* – additional players due to ties
Paige Berkmeyer, UT, Illinois
Stevie Meade, OF, Illinois
Lauren Wiles, P, Illinois
Heather Johnson, P, Indiana
Taylor Minnick, OF, Indiana
Ellie Sieler, OF, Michigan
Emily Leavitt, P, Minnesota
Ava Bredwell, C, Nebraska
Grace Nieto, 2B, Northwestern
Kami Kortokrax, SS, Ohio State
Melina Wilkison, OF, Ohio State
P: Courtney Wallace, Sr., Nebraska
C: Jordyn Rudd, Jr., Northwestern
1B: Mya Felder, Jr., Nebraska
2B: Cam Ybarra, Sr., Nebraska
SS: Makenna Dowell, Grad., Minnesota
3B: Kayla Chavez, Fr., Minnesota
OF: Kristina Burkhardt, Grad., Michigan
OF: Abbie Squier, So., Nebraska
OF: Lilia Crouthamel, Sr., Penn State
Sportsmanship Award Honorees: Lakyn Wagoner, Illinois; Grayson Radcliffe, Indiana; Kate Claypool, Iowa; Megan Mikami, Maryland; Lexi Voss, Michigan; Marissa Trivelpiece, Michigan State; Ali Lindner, Minnesota; Karlee Seevers, Nebraska; Lauren Caldrone, Northwestern; Avery Clark, Ohio State; Claire Swedberg, Penn State; Kaeley Hallada, Purdue; Gabrielle Callaway, Rutgers; Morgan Kummer, Wisconsin.