With its 2013 season concluded, FGCU softball head coach David Deiros announced four team awards wrapping up a year in which the Eagles went 36-18 overall, with a 16-7 mark in Atlantic Sun Conference play.
The four awards include Most Valuable Player, Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and the Eagle Pride award.
FGCU had its season end with a 2-1, walk-off loss to conference regular season champion North Florida (May 10) in an elimination game at the A-Sun Championships. The Ospreys won on a base hit in the bottom of the seventh inning.
"We had a very good season. It was difficult to choose one individual for each award because our players do a great job of playing the game the right way", said Deiros. "However, these four young women really exemplified what we are trying to accomplish on and off the field."
Senior Mariah Fernandez of Cape Coral was the recipient of the Eagle Pride award for her impressive career achievements. Fernandez was named to the A-Sun All-Academic Team, along with being named to the AllTournament team for the second year in a row.
During her final year at FGCU, Fernandez asserted herself among the all-time Eagle greats by placing herself among the top 10 in hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI and stolen bases. She was first on the team in doubles (11) and tied for first in triples (5).
Fernandez batted an impressive .625 in the conference tournament going 5-for-8, with two extra-base hits, three RBI, two runs scored, plus two walks.
"The Eagle Pride Award is a celebration of career achievement and I believe that Mariah has had one of the best careers in FGCU softball history," said Derios. "She has been a stalwart in our lineup for her four years. Most importantly, she has never rested on her laurels and saved her best for last. She had a fantastic season with tremendous improvement in just about every aspect of her game. Not only has she had a great career, but she had a career year this season," Deiros concluded.
Junior Chelsea Zgrabik of Venice was named the team MVP after a year in which she was named A-Sun Co-Player of the Year. She batted .329 in 45 games with 15 home runs and 56 RBI, both of which were team highs. Despite suffering a season-ending injury against USC Upstate (Apr. 21), Zgrabik received A-Sun second team honors after slugging .713 in addition to her other solid offensive numbers.
The Eagles' primary catcher recorded three two-home run games, seven three-RBI games, three four-RBI games and one six-RBI game over the course of her 45-game junior season.
Sophomore Kelsey Carpenter of Oviedo was named the Offensive Player of the Year. She led the Eagles batting order in numerous offensive categories this season. The left fielder led the offense in batting average (.380), runs scored (49), hits (60), total bases (107), walks (36) and on-base percentage (.490).
Junior third baseman Kirsten Bembnowski of Palm Harbor was a key piece to the infield that recorded 26 double plays, a statistic that ranks first in the A-Sun and ninth in the country among 289 Division I softball programs. She recorded 136 assists and 72 putouts to compile a .981 fielding percentage in 53 games, all of which she started. During A-Sun play, Bembnowski took her defense to another level as she posted a .990 fielding percentage which led all FGCU infielders.