No. 9 Softball Takes Perfect Record To Florida

Feb. 5, 2002

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SEATTLE -

Last Week:
2/1 vs. LBSU (@ UCLA)! W, 8-0 (6)
2/2 at CSU Northridge! W, 10-0 (5)
2/2 vs. Louisiana-Monroe! W, 5-2
2/3 vs. SJSU (@UCLA)! W, 9-1 (5)
2/3 vs. #23 SDSU (@UCLA)! W, 6-0

This Week:
2/8 vs. Florida Atlantic# 12 p.m.
2/8 at #15 Florida State# 4 p.m.
2/9 vs. Louisville# 12 p.m.
2/10 vs. #22 South Carolina# 9 a.m.
2/10 vs. Fla. Atlantic (@FSU) 11 a.m.

A Perfect Weekend: For the third time in program history, the Washington softball team began its season with a perfect record in its opening weekend, going 5-0 at the Early Bird Classic. The ninth-ranked Huskies were one of two teams, the other being No. 2 UCLA, to go undefeated in the seven-team tournament.

Perfect In The Past: Washington has had a perfect record in its opening weekend two times prior to this season.

The Huskies went 6-0 at the Arizona State Tournament in Tempe, Ariz., in 1996 and then had a perfect 3-0 record at the Arizona Classic in 2000.

The Huskies are 38-12 (.760) on opening weekends, despite playing 24 ranked foes.

The Best Start?: With a 5-0 record, the 2002 Huskies are off to the third-best start in program history. The UW won its first nine games twice in 1996 and 2000, before falling to a top-10 foe on both occasions. The 1996 team defeated a pair of top 10 teams in its first nine games, but could not get by No. 2 Arizona (L, 1-4) on its home field. The 2000 squad, meanwhile, opened with a pair of victories over No. 5 South Mississippi and one versus No. 4 Arizona, but eventually fell to No. 7 LSU (L, 2-4) on Feb. 18, at the Texas Invitational.

Betting On Boek: Washington freshman Ashley Boek (Redding, Calif.) made her presence felt in just her second career start, pitching a five-inning no-hitter versus San Jose State on February 3. Boek (1-0) walked two batters, while another reached base on an error, for the program's 20th no-hitter and its first since 2000.

The right-hander became just the second UW freshman to toss a no-hitter, joining former All-American Eve Gaw, who threw two no-hitters in 1995 versus Simon Fraser and Pacific Lutheran.

Depth Is Key: In its five games last weekend, the Huskies showed off the team's depth as all 18 players who made the trip, saw action in at least one game. In addition, three different Huskies started in right field and at the designated player spot, while two players started behind the plate and at second base.

The UW pitching staff also made its case in the depth department, as each of the team's three pitchers started a game, won at least one game and made an appearance in relief. A year ago, the Huskies had only two pitchers who started or won a game.

The Power Game: After finishing first nationally in home runs per game in 2000 and 14th a year ago, the 2002 Washington softball team didn't take long to prove that it will once again be among the nation's leaders in 'long ball' category.

In the team's five games, six different Huskies accounted for the team's seven home runs, including a grand slam. The UW had three home runs against both CSU Northridge and San Diego St., while freshman Steph Nicholson (Tucson, Ariz.) went yard versus San Jose St.

Other First Weekend Notes: Five of the six Husky freshmen saw starting time in at least one game, including three in the season-opener ... UW sophomore Nicole Wicks (Renton, Wash.) logged her first career hit (a triple) against Long Beach State (LBSU) ... freshman Steph Nicholson's first career hit was a home run versus San Jose State ... in her first career plate appearance, freshman Kristen Rivera (Perris, Calif.) belted a two-run double to left-center field, which proved to be the game-winner against LBSU ... freshman Kathy Fiske's (Temecula, Calif.) grand slam at CSU Northridge was the 12th in program history ... all nine UW batters got at least one hit in the game with San Jose State ... Washington tagged 19 extra-base hits in the five games, while the Husky pitching staff gave up just one all weekend ... three Huskies enter this weekend with five-game hitting streaks including Rivera, senior Becky Simpson (Tumwater, Wash.) and sophomore Rita Roach (Norwalk, Calif.).

Owls-Huskies - Round Two: The University of Washington softball team has added a non-conference game to its 2002 schedule versus Florida Atlantic University, Sunday, Feb. 10, in Tallahassee, Fla. The two schools will meet for the second time in three days, beginning at 2 p.m. at Florida State's Seminole Softball Complex.

Washington and Florida Atlantic will meet for the first time on Friday, Feb. 8, in the Huskies' first game of the Seminole Challenge, hosted by Florida State University. The two schools' second meeting will not count toward the tournament standings.

Florida In Focus: The Huskies embark on a 10-day road trip this Thursday, Feb. 7, when they travel to the first of two tournaments in the state of Florida. The UW plays at Florida State's Seminole Challenge this weekend (Feb. 8-10) in Tallahassee and will stay in Florida for a doubleheader with the University of Florida February 14, followed by the University Centre Invitational in Gainesville, Feb. 15-17.

Washington is making only its third trip to Florida and holds a 7-3 overall record in the Sunshine State.

Scouting the Florida Atlantic Owls (5-0): Washington and Florida Atlantic enter this weekend's tournament with identical 5-0 records. The two schools will face for the first time ever on Friday, followed by another game Sunday, which will not count in the tournament standings.

Under head coach Joan Joyce, the Owls are led both offensively and in the circle by senior pitcher Nicole Myers. Myers, who is 3-0 with a .571 batting average in 2002, became her school's first All-American a year ago with a 26-13 record and a .376 average at the plate. Myers will be helped by returning outfielders Heather Wright and Ninya Ybarra, who both have hit above .450 so far this season.

Scouting the Florida State Seminoles (2-0): The Huskies will look avenge a loss to Florida State in the two schools' most recent meeting in 1998. The Seminoles, who are ranked 15th in the preseason poll, are 2-0 so far in 2002, with a pair of games versus Mercer still left to play before this weekend.

FSU second baseman Brandi Stuart is one of her team's five returning starters in 2002. Stuart hit a team-best .361 with 73 hits a year ago, while pitchers Leslie Malerich (26-3 in 2001) and Jessica van der Linden (13-3) helped the Seminoles finish with the nation's best team ERA (0.71).

Under head coach JoAnne Graf, Florida State advanced to the NCAA regional final a year ago before falling to California, 3-2 in 10 innings.

Scouting the Louisville Cardinals (0-0): Louisville, one of two first-time opponents for the UW this weekend, will play its first games of the 2002 season this weekend.

Under head coach Sandy Pearsall, the Cardinals finished their 2001 campaign with a 40-26 record, including a 12-9 mark in Conference USA. The team's top two hitters return in infielder Melissa Jacobo (.366, 20 2B) and utility player Keola Calderon (.345, 50 RBI), while junior pitcher Jessica Rak (13-10, 1.98 ERA) will lead her team in the circle.

Scouting the South Carolina Gamecocks (0-0): South Carolina, ranked 22nd in this season preseason poll, kicks off its 2002 season at Florida State this weekend. A year ago, the Gamecocks, under head coach Joyce Compton, grabbed two out of three from the Huskies, including a win at both the NFCA Leadoff Classic and the Holiday Inn Invitational in Tampa, Fla.

This year, South Carolina returns six of nine starters from its 2001 team, which went 40-20-1 overall and won the Southeastern Conference title. Junior outfielder Kim Evans (.269, 25 RBI) is the Gamecocks' top returning player on offense, while pitcher Megan Matthews (23-13, 1.06 ERA) threw all three games versus the Huskies in 2001.

Friend Or Foe: UW head coach Teresa Wilson will get to see her former college coach at Missouri, South Carolina's Joyce Compton this weekend.

Celebrating 10 Years Of Husky Softball: The 2002 season marks the start of the 10th year of Husky Softball. The program, which played its inaugural season in 1993, celebrated its 10-year anniversary with an alumnae game on September 29, 2001.

Some of the biggest names in Washington softball history returned to Seattle for the game, which ended in a 1-1 tie. Over 25 alumnae and 14 of the program's 15 All-Americans took part in the festivities.

In The Top 10 Again: The University of Washington softball team, which finished last season at the No. 13 spot, has been ranked ninth in the 2002 USA Today/NFCA Preseason Coaches' Poll released January 23 by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).

The Huskies' No. 9 national ranking marks the seventh straight year in which the UW has started the season in the top 10. A year ago, the team maintained a top 15 ranking throughout the entire season, extending the Huskies' streak of appearances in the national top 25 to 96 consecutive poll datings entering 2002. Washington has been in the top 25 every year since late in 1993, its inaugural season.

The UW will face 12 of the top 25 teams at least once during the regular season. Three other future Husky opponents also received votes in the poll.

Arizona, the 2001 national champions, tops the list with 20 of the 27 first-place votes, while fellow Pac-10 member UCLA is ranked second with seven first-place votes. Seven of the eight Pac-10 schools which sponsor softball are ranked in the top 25, including Stanford (No. 3), California (No. 5), Arizona State (No. 8) and Oregon State (No. 18).

Pac-10 Power: For the second consecutive year, the University of Washington softball team has been picked to finish fourth in the Pac-10 in a poll of conference coaches announced January 15.

The Huskies received 28 points overall to place behind Arizona (46), UCLA (46) and Stanford (37). Arizona and UCLA, who both advanced to the NCAA final in 2001, tied with 46 points, splitting the eight first-place votes for the second straight year. Behind Washington was California (21), Oregon State (21), Arizona State (18) and Oregon (7).

Over the past three seasons, the Huskies have been picked by the conference coaches to finish second (2000), third (1999) and fourth (2001). Washington won the Pac-10 title for the second time in school history in 2000, while it ended up in third place in both 1999 and 2001.

Young And The Restless: With 10 freshmen on its 19-player roster a year ago, the Huskies remain a young squad in 2002. This year's team includes six freshmen, nine sophomores, three juniors and just one senior - outfielder Becky Simpson.

The last time the UW had just one senior on its roster was in 1999, when three-time All-American Becky Newbry helped lead the Huskies to the NCAA title game.

Far And Wide: The 2002 schedule will take the Huskies to six different states beginning with California, Florida, Georgia and Utah in just the first month of the season. The UW will later take trips to Arizona and finally Oregon for Pac-10 play with the University of Oregon and Oregon State.

Coming Home: After playing their first 22 games away from Husky Stadium in 2001, Washington's road home will be slightly longer in 2002. The Huskies are scheduled to play at least their first 27 games away from home, before returning to Seattle to face non-conference foe Simon Fraser on Saturday, March 9. The pair of games against the Clan are the earliest home games in program history, with the previous coming last season versus Texas on March 10.

First Pitch Luncheon: Washington will play host to its third annual 'First Pitch' luncheon, Wednesday, March 6, in the Don James Center at Husky Stadium. The luncheon, which honors the UW softball and baseball teams, is slated to begin at 11:30 a.m. For more information, call (206) 543-2210.

The Girls Of Summer: During the summer of 2001, three Huskies were among 33 elite players from across the nation who were chosen to represent the United States on one of two national teams - the USA Red and Blue.

The three Washington players, sophomore Tia Bollinger (Santa Ana, Calif.), junior Jaime Clark (Tustin, Calif.) and class of 2001 graduate Kim DePaul (Tomball, Texas), played for the USA Blue squad, which competed in three tournaments from June to August.

The USA Blue team opened the summer with a 3-4 record in the USA Softball Shootout, which pitted the two national teams against one another for the first six contests, followed by a game versus the Women's Pro Softball League All-Stars in Los Angeles.

USA Blue then headed north for the Canada Cup in Surrey, B.C., where the team finished fifth overall with an 8-3 record after winning its pool.

In its final competition of the summer, USA Blue compiled a perfect 9-0 record en route to the gold medal at the Pan American Games qualifier in Maracay, Venenzuela. Clark joined former Arizona All-American Lauren Bauer on the all-tournament team after leading the field with a .483 batting average, including 19 of the team's 63 RBI.

Attendance Figures Well for Huskies: In statistics released by the NCAA, the University of Washington ranked fifth nationally in home attendance average last season with 671 fans per game. Fresno State was first with an average of 2,134, while Arizona ranked second with 1,660 fans per game.

In 2000, the UW ranked second nationally in average home attendance with a 1,497 mark and was one of just three schools in division I, II and III, to average over 1,000 fans per game.

Other Husky Items: UW junior Jaime Clark is just six home runs away from breaking Jennifer Cline's school record of 43 ... Washington's game with Oregon State on April 20, has been moved to a 1 p.m. start to accommodate a live broadcast by Fox Sports Net ... a full television and radio broadcast schedule will be announced at a later date.

Head Coach Teresa Wilson: Teresa Wilson wasted no time in building a perennial contender for the NCAA Championship at the University of Washington. In nine years, Wilson has led the Huskies to five trips to the College World Series, including appearances in the championship game in 1996 and 1999. UW has earned eight 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 444-164 record, accruing an incredible .730 winning percentage. All totaled, Wilson's players have earned 22 All-America certificates, 64 mentions on all-Pac-10 squads, and 48 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 15-year career coaching record of 648-325 (.666) also includes stints at Oregon and Minnesota.

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