Courtesy of Moravian Sports Information
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. --- Moravian College junior catcher Janae Matos has been named to the 2017 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division All-America First Team and honored as the 2017 Diamond Sports Division III National Catcher of the Year while junior pitcher Josie Novak was named to the NFCA Division III All-America Second Team.
Matos, Novak and Head Coach John Byrne traveled to Oklahoma City to attend the 2017 NCAA Division III Championship Banquet at the Sheraton Hotel Downtown to receive their awards as part of the kickoff to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament that begins on Thursday, May 25.
Matos and Novak under Byrne's guidance helped the No. 14 Greyhounds to a 36-6 record this season as Moravian reached the postseason for the 23rd consecutive spring with the top seed in the 2017 Landmark Conference Tournament after an 11-1 mark in the conference's regular season. Matos and Novak give Moravian a total of seven student-athletes that have received 11 NFCA All-American honors. The duo are the first teammates to earn All-America accolades in the same year since Heather Bortz and Meagan Hennessy each made the Second Team in 2005, and Matos is just the fourth First Team All-American in school history, joining Bortz and Hennessy in 2004 and Jenn Dalickas in 2015. 2017 is just the fourth year that Diamond Sports has awarded the National Catcher of the Year honor to the First Team catcher.
Matos had one of the best seasons in school history and adds her two honors Wednesday evening to a list that includes being on the CoSIDA Division III Softball Academic All-America Third Team, the 2017 Landmark Conference Player of the Year, the 2017 ECAC Division III Metro Player of the Year, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Atlantic Region First Team, the Landmark All-Conference First Team for a second straight spring, the ECAC Division III Metro All-Star First Team and the Landmark Conference Spring Academic Honor Roll.
Matos paced the Greyhounds at the plate by hitting for a .523 average with 56 hits, 23 runs, a school-record 22 doubles, three home runs, 45 RBIs, 24 walks including four intentional base on balls, a .621 on-base percentage and an .813 slugging percentage. Matos recorded a team-high 203 putouts behind the plate to go with 13 assists. Matos became the 44th member of Moravian's 100-hit club in April.
"Janae had a tremendous season both at the plate hitting the ball and also behind it in the way she handled our pitching staff," noted Byrne. "She has very good hand-eye coordination, and her bat always seemed to make contact with the ball all spring with a knack for finding the gaps, which allowed her to set the school record for doubles. It is a great honor for Janae to join the list of our All-Americans and be the first National Catcher of the Year in program history."
Novak also has a long list of honors for the 2017 season including the 2017 Landmark Conference Pitcher of the Year for a season straight spring, the ECAC Division III Metro Pitcher of the Year for a second consecutive season, the NFCA All-Atlantic Region First Team, the Landmark All-Conference First Team, the ECAC Division III All-Star First Team and the Landmark Conference Spring Academic Honor Roll.
This season, Novak posted an 18-3 mark in the circle, and she recorded a 0.77 ERA, the fifth-best season in school history, two saves, 13 shutouts, the third most in a single season at Moravian, 20 walks and a conference-leading 144 strikeouts in 135.2 innings in the circle. Novak now has a career total of 474 strikeouts, the third player in school history to reach 400 career strikeouts, and her 56 career victories are fifth in the Moravian record books.
"Josie was in control of her pitches all season long and the result was one of the best seasons in school history and becoming our third pitcher to be an All-American," stated Byrne. "She seemed to be always able to place the ball in Janae's glove and by keep opposing batters off balance. It is impressive that seven of her 13 shutouts were one-hitters this spring. We're extremely happy to have both Josie and Janae with us for one more season."