IRVING, Texas – Five members of the University of Dallas softball team have been named National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Scholar-Athletes. Forming the quintet were: Allison Kotlar (Edna, Texas), Avery Finch (Jamul, Calif.), Katie Lee (Houston, Texas), Tera Espinosa (Caldwell, Texas), and Katelyn Lazarek (Seattle, Wash.). Athletes who achieve a 3.5 or better GPA on a 4.0 scale during the 2016-17 academic year were recognized as NFCA Scholar Athletes. This is the largest amount of recipients for the program in a single year.
Kotlar lettered four years and set the school record for games played in a career with 153. The outfielder demonstrated durability on the field and sustained success in the classroom. Kotlar qualified for the NFCA Scholar Athlete during her time at UD from 2013-17. She earned three United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) All-Americans in 2015, '16, and '17, while also making the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Spring Student-Athlete Academic Honor Roll all four years. Kotlar graduated last May from Dallas in Business.
Finch and Lee also graduated with Kotlar this past May in Education and Biology, respectively. The duo earned NFCA Scholar Athlete for the first time in their careers, and add to their academic accolades that include both being named to the SCAC Spring Student-Athlete Academic Honor Roll their final two seasons. Both lettered all four years and etched their names in the program's record books for season and career records. Finch holds the all-time record in at bats (480), and stolen bases (102). Lee finished as the record holder in games pitched (122), innings pitched (651), saves (2), shutouts (11), strikeouts (286), and wins (45).
Espinosa and Lazarek complete the group with their first NFCA Scholar Athlete Honors. Espinosa lettered in 2017 and has played in 46 games combined during her first two seasons at UD. The first baseman also qualified for the SCAC Spring Student-Athlete Academic Honor Roll this past spring. Lazarek played 13 games in her debut year for the Crusaders. She was another player that made it on the SCAC Spring Student-Athlete Academic Honor Roll. Espinosa is majoring in Biology (Pre-Med) and Lazarek is majoring in Psychology (Pre-Law).
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association's college membership consists of head, associate head and assistant coaches, along with directors of operations, volunteer coaches and student assistants at schools across the country. Member schools are eligible for awards every season. The NFCA has representation at all levels, including high school, international, professional, travel and youth fastpitch softball.