Creighton's Abby Johnson and Southern Illinois' Amy Hare were named the Missouri Valley Conference Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, in a vote by league coaches and announced at the State Farm / MVC Softball Championship pre-tournament banquet held in Wichita, Kan., this evening.  Johnson, a utility player, demonstrated her value on offense and in the circle this spring, leading Creighton with 13 doubles, 40 RBI, .580 slugging percentage and 1.49 earned run average.

At first base, Johnson established the CU career RBI record, entering the MVC Tournament with 143 to rank third all-time in MVC history. Her RBI and doubles totals rank second in the MVC, while her six home runs rank in the CU top-10 and give her 29 career long balls to ranks second in school history. Plus, she is hitting a career-best .355 this season to rank second on the team and in the MVC top-10.

In the circle she has notched a career-best 15-4 record, while leading the team with a 1.49 ERA. She has 116 strikeouts, which is the 10th best single-season total in CU history.

She tossed nine complete games, including three shutouts and has added two saves. She came within two outs of a perfect game and logged a career-high 17 strikeouts against UMKC on March 30.

Harre, a Nashville, Ill., native, led SIU to its second- straight MVC regular-season title, while the Salukis set the MVC record for wins in a conference season at 46.

For the season, Harre owns 12 shutouts, a no-hitter, 24 complete games, and 163 strikeouts in 200 innings. She is 12-2 with a 0.88 ERA, seven shutouts, 11 complete games, and 67 strikeouts in 95 innings.

Her two wins last weekend in the final league series increased her Valley career-records to 83 wins and 121 starts.

Her 147 appearances are an SIU record and second in Valley history (148). Harre improved her school-record of innings pitched to 806.1 and her 48 career shutouts are a MVC record as well. She is also second at SIU with a 0.99 career ERA and is third with 696 career strikeouts.

Wichita State freshman outfielder Katie McGeeney was voted the Newcomer-of-the-Year. McGeeney leads all Valley outfielders with a whopping .422 batting average, and she stepped up her average to .455 during Valley play.

A left-handed batting Kansas native, McGeeney is perfect on defense with 31 chances.

The first-team all-Valley squad featured 16 student-athletes, including four pitchers and five outfielders as the team includes at-large selection regardless of position.

In addition to their athletics achievements, 16 members of the scholar-athlete teams were recognized. In softball this season, 51 student-athletes met the criteria for academic all-conference honors---sophomores, juniors and seniors with at least a 3.00 grade point average who played in at least 75 percent of her team’s games.

The final award of the evening went to the 2005 Coaching Staff of the Year. For the fourth-straight season, the staff at Southern Illinois of Kerri Blaylock, Buddy Foster and Mark Cosgrove was chosen by their colleagues.

With its second-straight regular-season title, the Salukis, 46-10 overall and 24-3 in the MVC, jumped to No. 20 in the NFCA/USA Today Top 25 poll today.

Player of the Year
Abby Johnson, Creighton

Pitcher of the Year
Amy Harre, Southern Illinois

Newcomer of the Year
Katie McGeeney, Wichita State

Coaching Staff of the Year
Southern Illinois: Kerri Blaylock, Buddy Foster, Mark Cosgrove

FIRST TEAM
Pitcher
Lindsay Craig, Wichita State
Amy Harre, Southern Illinois
Tammy Nielsen, Creighton
Cassidy Scoggins, Southern Illinois

Catcher
Julie Darling, Wichita State

First Base
Kelly Creek, Southern Illinois

Second Base
Kate Stake, Illinois State

Third Base
Katie Wappler, Drake

Shortstop
Britnee Barnett, Wichita State

Outfielders
Melanie Dorsey, Creighton
Krystal Stein, Southern Illinois
Randi Patton, Illinois State
Maria Damico, Southern Illinois
Katie McGeeney, Wichita State

Utility
Abby Johnson, Creighton
Katie Jordan, Southern Illinois

SECOND TEAM
Lauren Roney, Southern Illinois, C
Erin Strellner, UNI, 3B
Stephanie De La Riva, Wichita State, 3B
Sara Cole, SMS, OF
Christine Fukumoto, Creighton, C
Lauren Flores, Creighton, 2B
Shannon Buslepp, SMS, P
Brittany Mynsberge, Bradley, 1st
Tracy Davis, UNI, SS
Samantha Carter, Southern Illinois, 2B
Dominique Borba, Illinois State, SS
Rachael Rogers, UNI, SS