Hammond, Ind. & Westville, Ind. – The accolades continue to come in for senior Kyleigh Payne (Bourbonnais, Ill./Kankakee CC/Bishop McNamara) as she was selected to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) NCAA Division II All-American Third Team Wednesday evening. Earlier this month she was named the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Softball Player of the Year. Payne was also a NFCA Division II All-Midwest Region First Team honoree. She became the first female student-athlete to win GLIAC Player of the Week on March 26.
“This is such a big accomplishment and a well-deserved honor. Kyleigh worked hard this year and I’m happy to see that hard work recognized” said Purdue Northwest softball coach Niki Stansell. “To make the transition from the NAIA to NCAA Division II and still compete at a high level is an incredible feat. Her leadership on and off the field was very important to our team success this season.”
Payne, who started all 52 games for PNW at first base this season, wasted no time establishing herself as an offensive force at the NCAA Division II level. She helped the Pride to a fourth-place finish in the league regular season standings in Purdue Northwest’s first year as a member of the GLIAC.
At the end of the regular season, Payne boasted the GLIAC’s top batting average (.440) and also led the league in hits (62), triples (9), on-base percentage (.549) and slugging percentage (.851). She also ranked second in the conference in home runs (10) and third overall in RBI (39).
Purdue Northwest (26-26 overall/15-17 GLIAC) finished its first season of competition at the NCAA Division II level with a 26-26 overall record. PNW also finished in fourth place in the GLIAC regular season standings and earned the No. 4 seed in the tournament.