One Team All Green

Softball headlines 2017 End of Year Awards

UVU Athletics

Another year has come and gone for UVU Athletics and it is time to present our End of the Year awards. Voting was close for Player of the Year between softball’s Brittany Vansway and Paul Hoffmeister of the men’s soccer team.

Coach of the Year came down to softball coach TJ Hubbard and men’s soccer coach Greg Maas. That was a tough choice for many and the results showed what fans think of both. Let’s put it this way: Vansway won by a mere eight percentage points. The Coach of the Year award was even closer as it was separated by six percentage points.

Here is the breakdown of the winners and a little write up about each. 

Player of the Year

In a close vote, Brittany Vansway took home the honors. The senior led UVU softball in almost every offensive category and set some school records in her final season. She set the single-season record for RBIs (52) and career RBIs (159). She also tied the single-season record for home runs with 13. Vansway is a four-time All-WAC selection and was second in the WAC in hitting (.402), home runs (13) and slugging percentage (.812). 

About the only thing Vansway didn’t accomplish was a regular season conference championship. She was a member of the 2014 WAC Tournament championship team and was second on the team in hitting (.284) and had 27 RBIs. 

No matter what you say, Brittany Vansway is a player that UVU softball will miss. She has been a mainstay all over the infield. In 2015, she was part of a double play combination that led the NCAA in double plays turned. Here is to hoping that Head Coach TJ Hubbard can find a solid replacement to take over one of the best players to come through the program.

Honorable mention – Paul Hoffmeister, men’s soccer, Sam Lubcke, women’s basketball, Dustin Dennison, wrestling, Patrick Wolfe, baseball

Coach of the Year

This was a very intriguing match-up to watch. One coach in his first season the other leading his team to its first-ever regular season championship. But, whether it was his own players promoting him or something else, softball coach TJ Hubbard takes home the honors. 

In his first season at the helm of the Wolverines, Hubbard led UVU to 16 wins. That is seven more than it had in 2016. The Wolverine also finished WAC play with a 7-8 record compared to 3-12 just a season ago. It doesn’t seem like much. But think about this: Hubbard was hired in October. That means he was given three months to work with his team and get them ready for the season. No time to recruit or improve the roster in any way. Just get to work and get it done. He did that. 

With an impressive recruiting class coming for the 2018 season, Hubbard has the UVU softball program pointed in the right direction.

Honorable mention – Greg Maas, men’s soccer, Sam Atoa, volleyball, Mark Pope, men’s basketball

Best Individual Performance

This award seems to come down to any athlete who participates in more of an individual sport. Although, there have been some impressive performances on the various teams this year. But, getting to Nationals in wrestling is one of the most difficult tasks. Just ask Dustin Dennison. The redshirt junior earned his way to Nationals with an impressive showing at the 2017 Big 12 Championships. Dennison upset three-time NCAA qualifier Ross Larson of Oklahoma in the semifinal round to punch his ticket to Nationals and a spot in the Big 12 Final. 

Although he lost in the final, Dennison was the first UVU wrestler to advance to a Big 12 Championship title bout. Dennison finished the 2016-17 season with a team-best 24-10 record. Look for big things out the heavyweight leader of a what is expected to be a deep UVU wrestling squad in 2017-18.

Honorable mention – Jason Lynch, T&F, Blair Bursey, men’s golf, Monica Yeates, women’s golf

Best Team

Initially, wrestling was on top after the first round of voting. However, the fans spoke and the UVU men’s soccer team takes home the honor of Best Team. It really is no surprise. The Wolverines were 15-4-1 overall and 8-1-1 in WAC play. UVU won the WAC regular season title in just its third season of competition at the NCAA Division I level. Wins over top-20 opponents Washington and Gonzaga were major highlights during the season. 

The 2016 squad also earned the first-ever top-25 ranking for any sport at UVU. It’s a shame that they got snubbed by the selection committee after falling in the WAC semifinals. But this award is well-deserved. If you haven’t been to a match at Clyde Field yet, we strongly suggest you get there on August 25 when the Wolverines open the 2017 season against national powerhouse Akron.

Honorable mention – Wrestling, Men’s Basketball, Volleyball

Best Game

We have saved the best for last. This could have gone either way. What UVU men’s soccer had to overcome to beat Washington in the season opener is remarkable. Playing a man down usually means playing on the defensive the entire match. But they found a way to win after Paul Hoffmeister put a rebound in the back of the net in the 55th minute. 

Unfortunately, to many of those who voted, a win over BYU takes precedence and that’s why the UVU men’s basketball win at BYU takes home this award. 18 3-pointers made. 114 points scored, which, by the way, is the most-ever scored by an opponent in the Marriott Center. 16,000-plus fans watched the Wolverines knock off the Cougars for what is believed to be the biggest win in program history. 

Former Cougar Isaac Neilson put it on his old team to the tune of 26 points and nine rebounds. Brandon Randolph just missed a triple-double with 21 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds. 

If that’s not impressive, this might be. UVU scored 60 points in the second half. That’s the amount of points some team score in a whole game. The 2016 win sets a big stage for 2017 when BYU comes to the UCCU Center on Nov. 29. Hopefully, the UVU MAWL will set up tent city and deny the BYU ROC admittance.

Honorable mention – UVU men’s soccer vs. Washington, Women’s basketball win over CSUB in WAC tourney, Volleyball win over CSUB in WAC tourney, Women’s soccer win at Oklahoma

 

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