Softball Heads To Las Vegas
Feb. 9, 2005
UP NEXT: The No. 8/11 (ESPN.com/USA Today) Washington softball team (3-1) travels to Las Vegas this week to compete in the Louisville Desert Classic, Feb. 11-13. The Huskies will face some tough competition, going head-to-head with three ranked opponents, including fellow Women's College World Series participant No. 7/5 LSU, as well as, No. 9/14 Tennessee and RV/No. 22 Illinois. Washington will also take on Louisville, who received votes in the latest top-25 polls and Central Florida.
HUSKIES WIN HAWAII PARADISE CLASSIC: Washington opened the 2005 season with a 3-1 record at the Hawaii Paradise Classic to earn the tournament title. The Huskies tied with Hawaii and Oregon in the team standings but won the tournament title with the tie breaker (least runs scored against: seven). UW defeated Jacksonville (12-0), IPFW (11-0) and No. 13 Oregon (6-0), before falling to host UH (7-6). Senior Kristen Rivera earned MVP honors as she hit .667 (6-for-9) with seven RBIs, six runs scored and two home runs. She was the Offensive MVP of the same tournament in 2003. Three other UW players earned all-tournament honors, including pitcher Ashley Boek, third baseman Kathy Fiske and outfielder Jacki Hansen. Washington out hit its opponents .340 to .233 and out scored its opponents 35-7.
SCOUTING LOUISVILLE: Louisville has a 3-2 record, including an upset victory over No. 4 Oklahoma on Feb. 5. The team is led by Courtney Moore with a .462 (6-for-13) average and Sara Bausher with a .357 (5-for-14) clip and three home runs. Pitcher Catherine Bishop is 2-0 on the season and has not allowed an earned run in 17 innings pitched. Washington is 2-0 all-time vs. Louisville with a 7-4 win in 2003 and a 7-0 victory in 2002.
SCOUTING LSU: LSU is making its season debut in Las Vegas. LSU is coming off its second Women's College World Series in four years and returns eight players. Washington leads the Tigers 5-3 in the all-time series with LSU defeating UW 4-2 last season.
SCOUTING ILLINOIS: Illinois has a 3-3 record with a pair of wins over Centenary College and a split with ULM. The team is led by LeeAnn Butcher with a .571 (12-for-21) average, while Molly Lawhead hit .471 (8-for-17) in the opening weekend. Illinois has three pitchers with 1-1 records. The Huskies have faced Illinois once before, handing the Fighting Illini a 9-1 loss in 2003.
SCOUTING UCF: UCF has a 3-4 record, including wins over Bethune-Cookman (3-2), DePaul (3-0) and Gardener-Webb (10-1). The team is led by Stephanie Best with a .421 (8-for-19) clip, while four other players are hitting above .300. Lindsay Enders (2-2) has made four appearances in the circle for the Golden Knights and has a 2.93 ERA. Washington has never played UCF.
SCOUTING TENNESSEE: Tennessee is 5-0 this season, including wins over UCF (4-0) and Louisville (4-0). The Lady Vols are led by Sarah Fekete with a .588 (10-for-17) average and Lindsay Schutzler with a .444 (8-for-18) clip. Tennessee's pitching staff has a 0.21 ERA and has held its opponents to a .091 average. Washington and Tennessee are tied 1-1 in the all-time series.
WASHINGTON IN THE POLLS: The Huskies moved up one spot in this week's ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate top 25 poll. Washington is also 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.
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. UW is 1-0 this season against top-25 teams with a 6-0 victory over Oregon on Feb. 6.
COLLEGIATE POTW 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. She has a 3-1 career record at Washington.
RIVERA DRAFTED BY THE NPF'S TEXAS THUNDER: Washington senior Kristen Rivera has been drafted by the Texas Thunder in the first round of the 2005 Senior College Player Selections. Rivera was one of 21 athletes selected by six National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) teams over four rounds. Due to NCAA regulations, an active college senior-athlete may not sign with her respective franchise until their 2005 college season is finished. Senior selection rights expire July 15, 2005. The NPF consists of six team including the Akron Racers, Arizona Heat, Chicago Bandits, New England Riptide, NY/NJ Juggernaut and Texas Thunder. The California Sunbirds will remain a part of the league but is suspending play for 2005 while working this year to restructure with plans to field a team again in 2006 along with additional teams in other potential markets. Last year, the Texas Thunder won the inaugural NPF regular season with a 41-17 record.
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).
SPORTS SUMMUT: 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.