The Valparaiso University softball program has announced that Taylor Lawson (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro) has been granted a hardship waiver due to injury for the 2017 season. Lawson will return to the Crusaders for her additional season of athletic eligibility as a fifth-year senior in 2018.
“We are excited for Taylor to have the opportunity to play one more season of college softball,” said Crusader head coach Kate Stake. “Despite her injury, TK remained engaged with the team throughout the season and was a crucial component of the success that we enjoyed last year. We are looking forward to her return both to the lineup and to the outfield for us, and her veteran leadership will serve the program well as we prepare for our first season of MVC play.”
Lawson suffered a hand injury sliding back into third base in the Crusaders’ game at Alabama on March 8 which caused her to miss the remainder of the season. The injury occurred during Valpo’s ninth game of the season – well before the NCAA threshold of 30% of the season’s contests – and was a season-ending injury, meeting the criteria to be granted the hardship waiver.
Lawson has started 167 games in her first four years at Valpo, cementing herself as one of the top speedsters in program history. She will enter the 2018 campaign ranked third in program history with 45 career steals and just outside the program’s all-time top-10 with 87 runs scored.
A Second Team All-Horizon League honoree as a freshman, she stole 23 bases in 2016 as a junior – fifth-most in a single season in program history – and had already recorded four steals in the first eight games of the 2017 season before suffering the injury. Lawson has anchored the Crusaders’ outfield defense throughout her career as well as Valpo’s starting center fielder and has tallied 22 outfield assists.
With Lawson’s return, Valpo will welcome back 16 returnees from 2017’s 28-win squad as it heads into the Missouri Valley Conference for the 2018 season.