#12 Softball Hits The Road Again For Utah Tournament

Feb. 28, 2001

SEATTLE - Mountain High: The 12th-ranked Washington softball team heads back out on the road this weekend for five games at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah.

The Huskies recently completed a 10-day journey to Florida, Tennessee and Georgia, where the team went 7-5 overall in two tournaments and a doubleheader versus Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Consolation Champs: For the sixth straight season, Washington finished in the top five at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga.

The Huskies won their pool with a 2-1 record and advanced to the gold bracket as the number four seed. After dropping a 2-3 decision to South Carolina, the UW defeated Kansas 8-0 to advance to the consolation championship versus Michigan, which was cut short due to rain and lightning. Because Washington was the higher of the two seeds, the Huskies were crowned the gold consolation champions.

Weather conditions also cut short the gold bracket semifinals between Stanford and South Carolina and California and Alabama. The Cardinal was named the overall tournament champion after being the number one seed coming out of pool play.

The Fifth Is For Us: The 2001 Huskies have had alarming success in the fifth inning, outscoring opponents 22-1. The UW scored six runs against both New Mexico State and Maryland and three runs in the first half of a doubleheader with Tennessee-Chattanooga. They also recorded a pair of runs versus Southern Mississippi, South Carolina and South Florida, while tallying one in a win over South Carolina.

Tia's Terrific: UW pitcher Tia Bollinger (Santa Ana, Calif.) is picking up right where former All-American pitchers Jamie Graves and Jennifer Spediacci left off. Bollinger, at 10-2 overall, has all but one of the team's wins so far this season in the circle, and became the first Pac-10 pitcher to reach the 10-win mark.

The right-hander also has combined with teammate Shannon Walsh (Covina, Calif.) to throw a pair of one-hitters versus both Texas Tech and Maryland, while recording solo one-hitters versus Tennessee-Chattanooga and Southern Mississippi.

Bollinger carried a no hitter through five innings against Hofstra, before being relieved by Bridget Wilcox (Olympia, Wash.) in the top of the sixth, and no-hit Southern Mississippi through 4.1 innings.

Hit Parade: UW outfielder Kelly Hauxhurst (Westminster, Calif.) and freshman utility player Amanda Oleson (Agoura Hills, Calif.) have been the keys to consistency for the 2001 team. Hauxhurst, who leads the team in batting with a .411 average, had a 13-game hitting streak halted versus Michigan State, while Oleson has matched Hauxhurst's streak with at least one hit in her last 13 games.

Catcher, Catcher: This weekend, those familiar with Husky softball over the past four seasons will see a very unfamiliar sight behind the plate. Senior co-captain Kim DePaul (Tomball, Texas), who has started all 224 games at third base since arriving at the UW in 1998, will take over the team's starting catching job after sophomore Amy Hanson (Mt. Vernon, Wash.) fractured her ring finger on her catching hand in the team's 8-0 win against Kansas.

DePaul caught for three innings versus the Jayhawks, but had never played the position while at the UW. Hanson, meanwhile, is expected to be out of the lineup for at least a week and either freshmen Amanda Oleson or Shawna Norris (Littleton, Colo.) are expected to take DePaul's spot at third base.

Success In St. George: The Huskies head back to St. George, Utah, for the second straight season after claiming the tournament title in 2000, with a 4-0 record. This year, the UW will open with tournament host University of Utah, followed by Brigham Young, Missouri, Southern Utah and then Nebraska. Oklahoma State, Stanford and UC Santa Barbara also are a part of the nine-team tournament field.

Scouting the Utah Utes (6-6): The Huskies and Utes will face for the first time since last year's NCAA regional final in which the UW won 9-0 in five innings to claim its fifth consecutive trip to the College World Series.

This season, under head coach Mona Stevens, the Utes are 6-6 with key victories over Florida International (5-2) and Oregon State (12-6). Shortstop Melissa Stahnke is leading the team in batting average (.385), while recording a team-best 10 runs and five home runs. Pitchers Kristin Arbogast and Heather Bowlin have shared the starting duties, with Arbogast posting a 4-4 record in eight starts.

Washington has a 7-1 all-time record against Utah, including three wins a year ago, which all were shortened due to the eight-run rule.

Scouting the Brigham Young Cougars (5-10): After taking last weekend off, BYU returns to action this week with a 5-10 overall record. The Huskies and Cougars face for the second year in a row at the Red Desert Classic, with the UW holding a 1-0 advantage following an 8-2 win in 2000.

Brigham Young has been led so far this season by outfielders Liz Smith, who has a .391 batting average, and freshman Oli Keohohou, who has tallied 15 RBI. Five pitchers have seen time in the circle for head coach Mary Kay Amicone, including seniors Meghann Pricer (2-3) and Maryon DeWitt-Wallentine (2-6).

Scouting the Missouri Tigers (5-10): UW head coach Teresa Wilson will face her alma mater for the second time at Washington, after posting a 2-0 win in the two schools' first-ever meeting in 1999.

Under head coach Jay Miller, Missouri is currently on a four-game losing skid after competing at the NFCA Leadoff Classic last weekend. Senior outfielder Karen Williams has led the Tigers in batting so far this season with a .458 average and seven runs scored. Pitchers Ingrid Werner (1-5) and Stephanie Falk (4-5) have combined to start all of the team's 15 games, while junior Erin Erickson has appeared twice in relief.

Scouting the Southern Utah Thunderbirds(6-9): Southern Utah enters this weekend with a 6-9 overall record, including notable victories over Oregon State (1-0), Brigham Young (7-5) and Florida (5-3).

Outfielders Emily Cederholm (.362) and Kelly Grundy (.333) are one-two on the team in batting with Grundy notching the team's only home run this season. In the circle, pitcher Mandy Flint (4-4) and Lori Shepard (2-4) have both started seven games, with Flint tallying 50 strikeouts so far this season.

The Huskies have faced the Thunderbirds twice before, with the most recent meeting being an 8-1 win for the UW in last year's Utah tournament in St. George.

Scouting the Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-7): In what was supposed to be the two schools' second scheduled meeting of 2001, the Huskies and Cornhuskers will actually play for first time this season on Sunday. The first game between Washington and Nebraska at the Fiesta Bowl Invitational on February 11, was cancelled in the third inning with the Cornhuskers leading 3-0, due to time constraints.

Under head coach Rhonda Revelle, Nebraska is 7-7 so far in 2001, including a pair of wins over Oregon (2-1, 7-0) and one against New Mexico (3-0). The Cornhuskers have been led by All-American pitcher Leigh Ann Walker (2-3), infielder Amanda Buchholz (.378) and catcher/designated player Amber Burgess (.341, 10 RBI).

Washington and Nebraska have played each other five times before with the Huskies winning the last meeting, 10-2, to pull out to a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series.

Close Connections: Freshman Shawna Norris will see five of her former summer ball teammates from the Colorado Comets when the Huskies play Nebraska (Danelle Arnold, Briana Bates, Katie Decker, Nicole Trimboli) ... Norris also played with Missouri freshman Ricki Walker on the Comets ... UW head coach Teresa Wilson will be reunited with her former pitching coach at Missouri, Missouri head softball coach Jay Miller.

400 And Over: The UW recorded its 400 victory as a program with a 11-3 win over New Mexico State in the team's second game of the year. The Huskies had entered the season with an eight-year, 399-141 all-time record and a .739 winning percentage since 1993.

On The Tube: Washington's May 5, game with Pac-10 foe Oregon has been scheduled to air live on FOX Sports Net at 2 p.m. (PT). The Huskies' game with the Ducks is one of three Pac-10 games set for FOX with the other two being the April 7, game between Arizona and UCLA and the April 14, game with Stanford and California.

Pickering Update: Former Washington standout Sara Pickering (1994-97), who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease last March, has had a relapse. Pickering, now an assistant softball coach at Stanford under former UW assistant John Rittman, is scheduled to undergo a Stem Cell Transplant in mid-March.

In support of Pickering, the Washington softball team will give supporters a chance to send their well wishes on April 27, when the Huskies play host to the Cardinal at 2 p.m., at Husky Stadium.

The Stanford also is currently in the process of setting up a web site for people to stay updated on Pickering's condition.

Pac-10 Power: The University of Washington softball team, which has made five consecutive trips to the College World Series, has been picked to finish fourth in the Pac-10 in a poll of conference coaches released January 16.

The Huskies, who finished their 2000 season with a number five national ranking, received 27 points overall to place behind Arizona (46), UCLA (46) and Arizona State (34). Arizona and UCLA both tied for first place with 46 points and four of the eight first-place votes. Behind Washington was Stanford (25), California (20), Oregon State (17) and Oregon (9).

Huskies On the Air Waves: The Washington softball team will have eight games broadcast live on KSRB 1150-AM in 2001. Mike Brown will handle play-by-play duties for the fourth- straight season, while John Cowley will provide color commentary.

UW is one of the few softball programs in the nation with regular-season games broadcast by a local radio station. This year's schedule begins March 10, with the first of a pair of games versus non-conference foe Texas, and includes four other Husky home games as well as two road games from Corvallis, Ore. Each game's broadcast will begin and end with a 15-minute pre- and post-game show, featuring interviews with UW players and coaches.

First Pitch Luncheon: Washington will play host to its second annual 'First Pitch' luncheon, Friday, March 9, in the Don James Center at Husky Stadium. The luncheon, which honors the UW softball and baseball teams, will begin at 12:30 p.m.

Fans and supporters of the UW baseball and softball teams can mingle with players and coaches from the two teams. Husky football coach Rick Neuheisel will serve as the master of ceremonies. The cost of the event is $20 per person. For a $140 donation, a sponsor receives a table for seven, or a table for six, plus a spot for a player or coach. Reservations are due by March 5. For more information, call (206) 616-1180.

Playing With Fire: Washington senior third baseman Kim DePaul was selected as the eighth pick overall by the Tampa Bay FireStix in the 2000 Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL) Senior Draft on December 2. DePaul, a second-round selection, was one of 24 college seniors picked by one of the league's four teams.

DePaul becomes the fourth Husky to be selected by a team in the WPSL's Senior Draft. Last season, standouts Jeanine Giordano (Tampa Bay FireStix), Jamie Graves (Akron Racers) and Jennifer Spediacci (Tampa Bay FireStix) were picked 19th, 20th and 22nd, respectively.

Attendance Figures Well for Huskies: In statistics released by the NCAA, the University of Washington was ranked second nationally in home attendance average last season with 1,497 fans per game. Fresno State was first with an average of 2,360, while Arizona ranked third with 1,330 fans per game. Fresno State, Washington and Arizona were the only schools in division I, II and III, to average over 1,000 fans per game.

The Huskies' average home attendance in 2000 also was up by 781 from 1999 (the most of any NCAA sponsored softball school), and the UW was ranked third in overall attendance, despite having only 15 home dates.

Dear Diary: Wonder what goes on behind the scenes and in the minds of Husky softball players and coaches? You will have two opportunities for the second year in a row to read a more personal account of Washington softball. Head coach Teresa Wilson will post bi-monthly diary submissions to the cnn-si.com site, while one Husky player per week will write about the team's fortunes on and off the field on the school's official site, www. gohuskies.com.

Meet Assistant Coach Drew Christmon: Drew Christmon, an assistant at the University of Kansas in 2000, has been named an assistant softball coach at the University of Washington. A native of Oklahoma City, Okla., he will serve as the team's hitting coach in addition to assisting UW head coach Teresa Wilson in all administrative aspects of the program.

Head Coach Teresa Wilson: Teresa Wilson wasted no time in building a perennial contender for the NCAA Championship at the University of Washington. In eight years, Wilson has led the Huskies to five straight trips to the College World Series, including appearances in the championship game in 1996 and 1999. UW has earned seven straight berths in the NCAA tournament, a No. 1 ranking in the USA Today/NFCA poll, and two Pac-10 titles.

As the only head coach in Husky history, Wilson has led the Huskies to a 410-147 record, accruing an incredible .736 winning percentage. All totaled, Wilson's players have earned 19 All-America certificates, 58 mentions on all-Pac-10 squads, and 44 all-conference academic honors.

A fierce competitor, Wilson, a native of Pickering, Mo., was an All-American pitcher at the University of Missouri from 1980-83. Her 14-year career coaching record of 614-308 (.666) also includes stints at Oregon and Minnesota, and ranks her 21st among the most winningest active coaches in division I softball.

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