Lisa (Sweeney) Van Ackeren, a four-time Patriot League Pitcher of the Year at Lehigh and a New Jersey native, completed her fourth season as Princeton's head softball coach in 2016.
In her first season, Van Ackeren became the winningest first-year coach in Princeton softball history, finishing at 27-19 and with the best record since the Tigers went 34-19 in 2006. Princeton's 12-8 Ivy League record in Van Ackeren's first year was the program's best since 2008, when the team went 18-2.
Through four seasons, Van Ackeren has a record of 85-97, already the third-winningest coach in program history.
Van Ackeren's fourth season saw her win the 2016 Ivy League Coach of the Year award after leading Princeton to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008. Along the way, Princeton won the Ivy South for the first time since 2008 and became the first visiting team since the Ivy League Championship Series began in 2007 to win the best-of-three battle between the division winners, defeating Harvard two games to one.
Fifteen Tigers have earned All-Ivy League honors during Van Ackeren's four seasons leading the team, and in 2016, Princeton had its first two first-team All-Ivy honorees since 2011 and the first Princeton freshman since 2006 to earn first-team All-Ivy recognition in Kaylee Grant.
Van Ackeren, a 2009 Lehigh graduate, coached as a volunteer assistant at Lehigh in 2010 and was an assistant coach at Penn in 2011 and 2012.
When she finished her playing career at Lehigh, the former Lisa Sweeney's name was listed more than a hundred times throughout the Patriot League record book, from being the only player in Patriot League history to win four Pitcher of the Year awards - as well as the 2008 Player of the Year award - to being a third-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honoree in 2008. No one in Patriot League history had won (104), shut out (31), pitched in (141), started (112), or finished (91) more games. She completed her career with the Patriot League record for strikeouts in a career (928) as well as the top three single-season totals.
Three of her four seasons represented the top three single-season win totals in Patriot League history, and she also twice led the league in saves in a season. Her four no-hitters, including ones thrown against Harvard and Penn, both in 2007, were a Patriot League record. Among those is a perfect game, thrown against Army as a freshman in the 2006 Patriot League Tournament.
Van Ackeren had a record of 94-28 as a pitcher at Lehigh, while the Mountain Hawks won 155 games over her four seasons. She pitched in three NCAA regionals, and Lehigh won at least one game in each, twice winning two.
In the 2012 season, her second as an assistant coach at Penn, Van Ackeren worked with unanimous first-team All-Ivy League selection Alexis Borden as the Quakers won the Ivy South division. Since coming to Princeton, Van Ackeren's players have earned eight All-Ivy League honors over her two seasons.
Van Ackeren has provided softball instruction outside of college athletics as well, co-founding Sweeney Softball in her home area of Lumberton, N.J., where she helped develop the careers of young players in her area.
Prior to Lehigh, Van Ackeren pitched for Rancocas Valley Regional High School, where she threw a no-hitter in the 2005 NJSIAA Group IV championship game to cap a 31-2 senior season in which she posted a 0.15 ERA. She was a two-time Courier-Post South Jersey Player of the Year.
While pursuing her bachelor's degree in history at Lehigh, Van Ackeren student taught at schools both near Lehigh and in her home area. She completed a master's degree at Lehigh in secondary social studies education in 2010.
Van Ackeren resides in Princeton with her husband Brendan.
|2006||Lehigh (Player)||43-14||19-1||NCAA Regional|
|2008||Lehigh (Player)||39-17-1||14-6||NCAA Regional|
|2009||Lehigh (Player)||38-18-1||17-3||NCAA Regional|
|2010||Lehigh (Vol. Asst.)||31-19||14-6|
|Total at Lehigh||186-86-3||81-17/3 Patriot League Championships||3 NCAA Regionals|
|2011||Penn (Asst. Coach)||18-21-1||9-10/2nd Ivy South|
|2012||Penn (Asst. Coach)||33-17||15-5/1st Ivy South|
|Total at Penn||51-38-1||24-15|
|2013||Princeton||27-19||12-8/2nd Ivy South|
|2014||Princeton||17-26||9-11/T-2nd Ivy South|
|2015||Princeton||18-24||10-9/2nd Ivy South|
|2016||Princeton||23-28||14-6/1st Ivy South||NCAA Regional|
|Total at Princeton||85-97||45-34|
Lehigh University, Bachelor of History, 2009
Lehigh University, Master of Education in Secondary Social Studies, 2010
Lehigh University, 2006-09
Four-time first-team All-Patriot League player
Four-time Patriot League Pitcher of the Year
2008 Patriot League Player of the Year
2006, 2008 & 2009 Patriot League Tournament MVP
2008 Academic All-America
2009 Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year
2016 Ivy League Coach of the Year
Princeton University, Head Coach (2013-present)
University of Pennsylvania, Assistant Coach (2011-12)
Lehigh University, Volunteer Assistant Coach (2010)