Two players from the UTD softball team have been placed on the Academic All-America team, becoming the first in the softball team’s history to receive the honor at the same time.
After concluding the 2018 season with a 24-18 overall record, the softball team made history after it was announced that two players would join the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-America softball teams. Sponsored by Google and selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America, the status is handed out annually to qualifying players. Both junior infielder Melissa Livermore and senior outfielder Stefanie Polderman were honored.
Livermore is on her way to becoming one of the most decorated players in UTD softball history, having already secured several honors since she joined the team in 2016. These include becoming UTD’s first three-time All-American from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and a three-time All-ASC performer. Livermore began playing softball at a young age and has been playing for local teams since she was seven. A local from Frisco, she attended Wakeland High School where she earned several awards, including all-district selection four times and team MVP two times.
“I started playing softball ever since I could pick up a ball and a bat,” Livermore said. “I’m not a player who is constantly looking up stats and worrying about what I can do to make sure I play perfectly.”
Livermore started her collegiate career at UTD by becoming the first softball All-American and being named ASC Freshman of the Year. This season, she broke the softball career record of runs scored during a season and is expected to break the program’s hit record next spring, which will be her last season.
“As I step out onto the field for my last season, I want to be reminded of the little girl who put on her cleats for the first time,” Livermore said. “I want to play for the girl who fell in love with the sport and never looked back.”
Polderman received the same honor last year, now making her a two-time winner of the status. Originally from West Vancouver, Canada, she has been with the team since 2015. It wasn’t until her second and third year with the team that she achieved high honors such as the ASC Distinguished Scholar Athlete. It was also the first time she won All-America status. Polderman said in the past, she found motivation in her competiveness and inspiration from those above her in the team who worked for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
“Playing softball was always first and foremost my stress relief,” Polderman said. “I wanted to have fun on the field and I found the more competitive I was, the more we won, then the more fun I had, so that was motivation in itself.”
For her final season with the team, she started all 42 games and was named First Team All-ASC, a conference honor, after hitting .360 with two doubles and one home run. In addition to winning the Academic All-America honors, she also received the American Southwest Conference Distinguished Scholar-Athletes honor alongside four other Comets.
“Being part of the athletics department was the best thing that could have happened to me at college,” Polderman said. “Even through the ups and downs, I don’t have a single regret about coming to UTD to play softball.”