GRAND FORKS, N.D. --- University of North Dakota softball head coach Eric Oakley announced today the award winners from the 2012 season as voted by the players and coaches.
The Fighting Sioux open its bid at claiming its second Great West Conference championship in three seasons this Sunday in Dallas at 10 a.m. against Utah Valley in the semifinals of the double-elimination tournament.
Offensive Player of the Year: Kenna Olsen (Issaquah, Wash.)
Olsen is on pace to become only the sixth player in program history to finish a season with a plus-.400 batting average as she will enter the GWC Tournament connecting at a .421 rate. She has added 14 walks on the year for a .432 on-base percentage while collecting 21 RBI, nine runs scored and four home runs.
"Kenna has had an amazing offensive season," Oakley said. "She is a big reason that we have had the offensive success we have had this year."
Defensive Player of the Year: Erica Younan (Chico, Calif.)
Spending most of her time for UND in the circle during her first three seasons, Younan transitioned to first base for her senior campaign and has done so nearly flawlessly. Playing in all 45 games, she has amassed 331 putouts with only a single error for a .997 fielding percentage. Younan has also connected for nearly 100 points above her career batting average to help spark UND's offensive attack and is third on the team in runs scored (23) and fourth in RBI (22).
"For Erica to have taken on a new position in her senior year and perform at such a high level is a testament to what type of athlete she is," Oakley said. "She led the team from that corner."
Fighting Sioux Spirit Award: Cami Bennett (Grants Pass, Ore.)
A two-time All-GWC Team selection and reigning GWC Tournament Most Valuable Player, Bennett enters the 2012 GWC Tournament with a career high .329 average and having already collected single-season bests with 28 runs scored and 11 RBI.
"This is the player that the rest of the team believes best represents what it is to be a North Dakota softball player," Oakley said. "Her hard work is a model for the rest of the team and her never quit attitude assures us that the team will always fight to compete in games."