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UNI's Ryan Jacobs and assistants named MVC Staff of the Year

UNI's Ryan Jacobs and assistants named MVC Staff of the Year

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The University of Northern Iowa softball team took home all of the top honors from the Missouri Valley Conference Wednesday.

Head coach Ryan Jacobs and his assistant Monica Wright were named Coaching Staff of the Year. Senior Sammey Bunch was named the Player of the Year for the second time, and sophomore pitcher Kailyn Packard was named Pitcher of the Year and Newcomer of the Year.

The Coach of the Year award is the fourth time Jacobs and his staff have won the award joining the 2009, 2012 and 2017 seasons. UNI won 30 games for the sixth time in Jacobs tenure and a league=high 20 conference games.

Bunch was simply the most dangerous hitter in the Valley as she socked 21 home runs all from the lead-off position. She was the 2019 Player of the Year after being selected as the 2018 Defensive Player of the Year, the in 2017 earning Freshman of the Y ear honors.

Bunch’s first team all-conference distinction was the fourth time in her career she earned that honor.

Packard made an immediate impact inside the circle for the Panthers after transferring from Missouri-Kansas City. She finished the regular season 20-5 record and was 14-2 in MVC play with a 2.16 earned run average. Packard threw 95.2 innings in with 105 strike outs in Valley play.

Bunch and Packard were also first team all-conference selections as was freshman catcher Emmy Wells, outfielder Kamryn Shaffer and utility player Adara Opiola.

Third baseman Brooke Snider was selected to the second team.

Wells, was also named to the all-Defensive team after finishing with a team-high 160 putouts and a .989 fielding percentage. She batted .296 with a .494 slugging percentage. Shaffer slammed 13 home runs, including a MVC best 11 in league play, Her 27 RBIs were third in the Valley and she ranked second in slugging percentage and total bases.

Opiola hit .325 in her final season with 24 RBIs. Snider batted .272 with five doubles and five home runs.


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