Holifield, Robles Named All-Conference USA
DENTON, Texas -- Conference USA announced its 2016 All-Conference USA selections and Southern Miss had a pair of players named to the list. Lauren Holifield and Samantha Robles were each selected to the second team, while Holifield was tabbed Newcomer of the Year.
The duo become the first Golden Eagles to be named all-conference since Leslie LeJune (2009-12) was selected to the second team in 2011. It is the first time since 2009 that the Black and Gold placed multiple players on the all-conference team. It is the first postseason conference award of any kind since Morgan McKeever (2013-pres.) earned C-USA All-Freshman accolades in 2013.
Holifield joins Megan Hill (2007-10) as the only players in Southern Miss history to earn Conference USA Newcomer of the Year honors. Hill claimed the award as a freshman in 2007.
After claiming the 2016 Conference USA Softball regular season title and the No. 1 seed in this year's championship event, Florida Atlantic earned representation in three of the five superlative awards as Joan Joyce was named C-USA Coach of the Year. FAU's Kylee Hanson claimed C-USA Pitcher of the Year and Madisyn Palmer was dubbed Freshman of the Year, while UTEP's Courtney Clayton earned Player of the Year accolades.
Holifield, a transfer from Jones County JC, led the Golden Eagles in batting average, slugging percentage, runs, hits, RBI, home runs, and total bases. She ranked in the conference in home runs (6th), slugging percentage (7th), total bases (7th), RBI (12th), and batting average (15th), while ranking in home runs (1st), slugging percentage (1st), total bases (2nd), RBI (3rd), hits (5th), batting average (6th), on-base percentage (7th), and runs scored (7th) in C-USA games only. The former NJCAA National Junior College Division II Player of the Year was a Conference USA Player of the Year on March 14, 2016. Holifield registered 14 multi-hit games (eight in C-USA) with nine multi-RBI games (five in C-USA). She ended the regular season with a season-high nine-game hitting streak. Holifield had a school-record two home runs in a game twice this season (at Middle Tennessee; at Louisiana Tech). Eight of her team-leading 11 home runs came in Conference USA play. This season, Holifield became the 11th player in Southern Miss history with 10+ home runs in a season, and the first since 2011 with double-digit dingers in a year.
Robles, who earned Conference USA Pitcher of the Week accolades on April 18, earned her first all-conference selection. She led team in ERA, opp. batting average, win-loss percentage, wins, saves, innings pitched, strikeouts, appearances, games started, and strikeouts looking. Robles finished the regular season ranked in C-USA in saves (3rd), wins (4th), games started (4th), appearances (5th), innings pitched (5th), strikeouts (7th), strikeouts looking (8th), ERA (10th), and opponent batting average (10th), while ranking in saves (1st), opponent batting average (2nd), wins (3rd), strikeouts looking (5th), ERA (7th), innings pitched (7th), strikeouts (7th), appearances (7th), and games started (7th) in Conference USA games only. Robles ranks in Southern Miss single-season records for saves (1st), wins (5th), and appearances (10th), while moving into the Golden Eagles career records in saves (3rd) and wins (9th). In addition to her numbers in the circle, Robles also went 12-for-55 (.218) at the plate with three doubles, three home runs, four runs scored, 14 RBI, four hit by pitch, and a .436 slugging percentage.
Southern Miss opens play in the 2016 Conference USA Championships on Wednesday evening at Lovelace Stadium in Denton, Texas on the campus of North Texas. The Golden Eagles, who earned a No. 3 seed in the tournament, will face the winner of No. 6 UTEP and No. 7 FIU at 7:30 p.m.