Kearney, Neb. – Junior outfielder Carlee Liesch (pronounced Leasch), junior shortstop Abbie Vodicka (pronounced Vow-ditch-kah), sophomore catcher/third baseman Katie Gosker and freshman outfielder Abbie Jo Gaube represent Nebraska-Kearney on the 2021 All-MIAA team.
The team is voted upon by the league’s head coaches and they cannot vote for their own players. Note there wasn’t a 2020 All-MIAA team due to the cancelation of the season in mid-March. Liesch (Lincoln Pius X) earned second-team honors with Vodicka (Lincoln Pius X), Gosker (Blair) and Gaube (Omaha Gross Catholic) receiving honorable mention accolades. This is the second All-MIAA recognition for Liesch and the first such honor for the others.
Battling some injuries down the stretch that forced her to miss three games and be at designated player, Liesch still led UNK in batting average (.366), triples (three) and steals (12) while ranking second in hits (52). From the two hole she had a team-best 16 multi-hit games and currently has a career .418 batting average which would break the school-record (.401, Jill McCaslin; 1994-97). Defensively, Liesch had 78 putouts and three assists playing in center and right field. Finally, Liesch is the eighth Loper to earn multiple All-MIAA honors in a career.
Vodicka became the full-time starting shortstop this year and also served as UNK’s leadoff hitter. She led the Lopers in hits (53) and doubles (16) while ranking second in batting average (.356) and total bases (75) and third in both runs (23) and RBI’s (27). One of two players to start all 42 games, Vodicka had an 18-game hit streak in the early part of the season. That is one of the longest such streak by a Loper in the past 15 years. Finally, she had 62 assists in the field.
Gosker appeared in 30 games behind the plate and 11 at third. She led the team in home runs (10) and ranked second in slugging percentage (.566). Her 73 total bases ranked third and she threw out 13 would-be base stealers. Finally, she was one of four Lopers to play in all 42 games.
One of several Loper newcomers to have a solid spring, Gaube was in right field, left field and designated player. Appearing in 30 games with 26 starts she batted .342 with eight doubles, two dingers and 10 RBI’s. She ranked third on the team in batting average, tied for the team lead in walks (14) and was second in on-base percentage (.452).
Missouri Western junior infielder Sydni Hawkins is the MIAA Player of the Year with Washburn’s Marrit Mead the top freshman. The Co-Defensive Players of the Year are Madison Friest of Northwest Missouri and Central Oklahoma’s Lexy Dobson with junior Andrea Morales the MIAA’s top pitcher. Finally, Hallie Blackney of Missouri Southern picked Coach of the Year honors.
UNK (17-25, 8-18 MIAA) finished the year on a three-game win streak which included a win at nationally-ranked Central Oklahoma. The Lopers also had a 4-0 non-conference weekend (Feb. 26-27) for the first time in 15 seasons.