Huskies Open Softball Season In Hawaii
Feb. 1, 2005
UP NEXT: The 11th-ranked Washington softball team opens the 2005 season at the Hawaii Paradise Classic in Honolulu, Feb. 3-6. The Huskies open tournament play on Thursday, February 3 vs. Jacksonville at 3 p.m. (HST). Washington is 9-4 all-time in season openers, including an 8-0 romp over San Diego State last year.
SEASON DEBUTS: Washington has opened each of its 13 seasons with a multiple-team tournament, accruing a 46-13 (.780) record. The Huskies have gone undefeated in four of those tournaments (1996, 2000, 2002, 2003) and are 9-4 in season openers.
SCOUTING JACKSONVILLE: Jacksonville returns eight starters from the 2004 squad that went 22-42. The Dolphins return junior pitcher Katie Dobon, who went 11-17 in the circle last season. JU also returns senior first baseman/catcher Lauren Redfern and junior utility player Kacey Yourous. Redfern ranked second on the team in 2004 with two home runs, while Yourous posted the top batting average among returnees (.263) a year ago. The Dolphins, who begin just their third year in existence, are coached by Jeff Franquet. Jacksonville makes its season debut vs. the Huskies on Feb. 3 at 3 p.m.
SCOUTING IPFW: Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne was 10-31-1 last season and will rely on newcomers Jenna Connelly and Katie Aspegren to team up with junior Beth Harmon to handle pitching duties. Connelly won two high school state championships, while Aspegren was the 2004 Colorado State Pitcher of the Year. The Mastodons are coached by Keith Fisher.
SCOUTING OREGON: No. 13/14 Oregon returns eight starters for the 2005 season. The Ducks finished 2004 with a 42-21 overall record and 10-11 mark in the Pac-10. Oregon has advanced to the postseason in each of the last two years and has advanced to the Regional Championship both times. The team is led by first team All-Pac-10 hurler Ani Nyhus, who set an Oregon single-season record with 202 strikeouts last season. The Ducks are coached by Kathy Arendsen who is in her third year at the helm of Oregon softball.
SCOUTING HAWAII: Hawaii finished the 2004 season with a 28-33 record and 10-14 mark in the WAC. The team is led by first team All-WAC outfielder Tracie Uchima. The Rainbow Wahine also return three players that earned second team All-WAC honors, including first baseman Tyleen Tausaga, second baseman Noelle Izumi and outfielder Denise Dahlberg. UH is coached by Bob Coolen who is in his 19th season with Hawaii.
WASHINGTON IN THE POLLS: The Huskies are ranked 11th in the preseason USA Today/NFCA Coaches Top 25 poll released on Jan. 26. The Huskies have been ranked in the poll for each of the last 141 datings. Washington's streak began with the team's No. 15 preseason ranking in 1994 and also includes smaller streaks of 66 straight top 6 rankings (2/28/96 - preseason 2001 poll) and 69 consecutive poll datings in the top 10 (preseason 1996 - 2/28/01). Overall, the Huskies have remained in the top 15 in each of the last 124 poll datings, a streak that began with the preseason poll in 1996. Washington is ranked ninth in the preseason ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate top 25 poll.
CHALLENGING SCHEDULE: The Huskies will play 11 teams currently ranked in the USA Today/ NFCA Top 25 poll and four other teams who have received votes. Six of Washington ranked opponents are fellow Pac-10 teams, including No. 1 California, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Arizona, No. 6 Stanford, No. 13 Oregon and No. 16 Oregon State. The Huskies are also slated to face No. 5 LSU, No. 14 Tennessee, No. 18 Nebraska, No. 20 Long Beach State and No. 22 Illinois in the tournament portion of the season.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST: The Amateur Softball Association, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, and USA Softball announced its initial watch list for the fourth annual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. Two Huskies were named on the list, including sophomore second baseman Dominique Lastrapes and senior catcher Kristen Rivera. Both players earned All-America honors last season. The award, which is considered the Heisman Trophy in women's collegiate softball and is the only national player of the year award, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
UW PICKED SIXTH: Washington was selected to finish sixth in the league by the Conference softball coaches. Head Coach Heather Tarr, who enters her first season at the helm of the UW program, returns seven starters for the 2005 campaign, including All-American catcher and 2004 Pac-10 Player of the Year Kristen Rivera and All-American second baseman Dominique Lastrapes. Tarr, a former player at Washington, aims to guide the Huskies to their 12th postseason appearance and eighth Women's College World Series. California was picked to win the Pac-10 Conference after receiving 44 points, including three first place votes. Arizona, the 2004 Pac-10 Champion, was picked to finish second with 43 points, while 2004 National Champion UCLA was tabbed third with 42 points.
ROSTER BREAKDOWN: The 17-player Washington roster includes 10 returning letterwinners and seven returning starters. The 2005 team is comprised of five seniors, four juniors, three sophomores and five freshmen. Eight players hail from Washington, eight from California and one from Oregon.
HEAD COACH Heather Tarr: Heather Tarr, a former Washington softball player, embarks on her first season as its head coach after a six-year stint at Pacific as an assistant coach and most recently as the associate head coach. At Pacific, the Tigers posted a 232-124 (.652) overall record and 90-44 (.672) mark in the Big West Conference. In 2001, she and Pacific head coach Brian Kolze were named the 2001 NFCA West Region Coaching Staff of the Year after guiding the Tigers to within one win of the Women's College World Series and a No. 18 final national ranking. Tarr joined Pacific prior to the 1999 season after an outstanding career as a Husky. As a four-year letterwinner, Tarr helped lead UW to a second place finish at the Women's College World Series in 1996 and a third place finish in 1997.
HUSKIES ON THE AIRWAVES: KKNW AM-1150, through rights-holder Pioneer Radio & Sports, will carry 10 Husky softball games, plus any postseason play during the 2005 season. Longtime baseball play-by-play man Mike Brown returns for his eighth season behind the microphone, while John Cowley will deliver color commentary for his fifth season with the Dawgs. All games will air live on KKNW, and are also available over the internet at ww.gohuskies.com or www.newschannel1150.com. Here is the complete UW softball radio broadcast schedule (broadcasts begin 15 minutes prior to first pitch; schedule is subject to change):
Friday, April 1: Washington at Oregon- 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 2: Washington at Oregon State- 1 p.m.
Sunday, April 3: Washington at Oregon State- 1 p.m.
Wednesday, April 27: UCLA at Washington- 1 p.m.
Friday, April 29: Stanford at Washington- 1 p.m.
Friday, May 6: Washington at Arizona State- 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 7: Washington at Arizona- 7 p.m.
Sunday, May 8: Washington at Arizona- 1 p.m.
Thursday, May 12: Oregon State at Washington- 1 p.m.
Friday, May 13: Oregon at Washington- 3 p.m.
2006 SIGNEES: The Washington softball team has received National Letters of Intent from five high school seniors and one junior college transfer who will join the Huskies for the 2006 season. The six players that signed letters did so during the early signing period, which runs Nov. 10-17. The late signing period begins April 13, 2005. The newcomers include infielder/pitcher Brooke Woodward (Vancouver, Wash), pitcher Danielle Lawrie (Langley, British Columbia), catcher Ashlyn Watson (Garden Grove, Calif.), utility Alicia Matthews (Olympia, Wash), outfielder Marnie Koziol (Renton, Wash.) and infielder Destri Keo (Woodinville, Wash).
TWO FORMER HUSKIES TO COMPETE AT PACIFIC RIM SPORTS SUMMIT: After a three-day tryout camp in Chula Vista, CA, former Washington players Jaime Clark and Jenny Topping have been selected by USA Softball to the 18-member roster to compete at the 2005 Pacific Rim Sports Summit in Seattle in June. Clark, a 2003 graduate from Washington, had a spectacular collegiate career that included two appearances in the Women's College World Series (2000, 2003) and three Pac-10 all-conference awards. She finished her career with three school records, including career home runs (73), career runs scored (223) and career runs batted in (243). She was an alternate on the 2004 USA Women's Softball Team that won the Olympic gold medal in Athens last summer. Topping played one season at UW (2000) and earned All-America honors before transferring to Cal State Fullerton. During her freshman campaign, Topping led the nation in home runs (24), RBIs (90) and slugging percentage (.960). She was the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year and set Washington records for walks (56) and on-base percentage (.565). Topping was a member of the 2004 Olympic team.
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