HAMDEN, Conn. – Three student-athletes from the Quinnipiac softball team were recently named National Fastpitch Coaches Association Academic All-Americans for their performance in the classroom during the 2011-12 academic year. The distinguished athletes include former standouts Heather Schwartzburg and Ashley Heiberger as well as current sophomore catcher Jordan Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.). Recipients of this award earned a minimum 3.50 cumulative GPA over both semesters last year.
Both Paolucci and Schwartburg still attend Quinnipiac, Paolucci is in her third year as an athletic training major while Schwartzburg is in her fifth and final year as a primary education major in the MAT program. Heiberger graduated last spring with a bachelor's degree in communications.
Paolucci redshirted during the 2012 season after missing the final 36 of the team's games due to injury. The sophomore catcher had a standout freshman campaign in 2011 after leading the team with a .351 batting average, 40 runs and 36 RBI. She collected a team and NEC-leading 106 total bases on the year while also breaking the Quinnipiac single-season home run record with 15 dingers to lead the entire conference. Paolucci was named the 2011 NEC Rookie of the Year and also made the All-NEC First Team distinction at the catcher position.
Schwartzburg capped off an illustrious career as she was named the 2012 Quinnipiac Female Athlete of the Year. Among her individual accomplishments for the 2012 season, Schwartzburg was named NEC Pitcher of the Week twice, named 1st Team All-NEC, NEC All-Tournament Team, and was a NFCA Academic All-American. She finished the 2012 season with another banner year as she led the team in wins (20), saves (three), complete games (22), innings pitched (193.1), strikeouts (212), earned-run-average (1.52), batting average against (.154), and shutouts (two). Her season granted national attention as she ranked 9th in the nation in hits allowed per seven innings, 22nd nationally in ERA, and 54th nationally in strikeouts per seven innings. Within the NEC, Schwartzburg ranked first in ERA, third in innings pitched, second in strikeouts, first in strikeouts looking, third in wins, and third in saves. She also holds many school and conference season and career pitching records.
Heiberger won the Spirit of the Bobcat award at the team's annual banquet which distinguishes the team's emotional leader throughout the season. She appeared in 49-of-50 games throughout the 2012 season and most of which were as the team's catcher. Also, like Schwartzburg, Heiberger was named an NFCA Academic All-American. She led the team in stolen bases (eight), recorded a .985 fielding percentage with over 330 chances, and threw out a league-best 41 percent of runners attempting to steal (the average among all NCAA catchers is 25 percent).
The 2013 regular season opens on Feb. 16-17 as the Bobcats travel to Longwood, Va. to take part in the Lancer Lead-Off Classic. The team will play three games between Saturday and Sunday with two coming against the host Longwood.
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