#10 Softball Looks To Defend Tournament Title At The NFCA Leadoff Classic

Feb. 22, 2001

The Voyage Continues: After spending the last eight days in Florida and Tennessee, the Washington softball team concludes its 11-day, three-state voyage through the South, at the NFCA Leadoff Classic, February 23-25, in Columbus, Ga.

Sweeping the Mocs: Behind the pitching performance of freshman Tia Bollinger (Santa Ana, Calif.) the 10th-ranked Washington softball team swept a pair of games Wednesday at Tennessee-Chattanooga, 7-1 and 3-0. With the doubleheader swept, the Huskies moved to 8-4 on the season, while the Lady Mocs fell to 7-6.

Bookend Wins: The Huskies opened and ended their stay at the Holiday Inn Invitational in Tampa, Fla., with wins over Maryland (10-5) and Hofstra (8-4). The two wins, however, sandwiched three losses to #18 South Carolina (3-5), #19 Notre Dame (2-3) and tournament host University of South Florida (3-4).

Hit Parade: The UW has continued to post a number of good outings at the plate, carrying a .297 team batting average and recording four games in double-digit hits in 2001. Two of those games came last weekend when the Huskies had 15 hits versus Maryland and 16 against Hofstra. The 16 hits versus the Pride was the most by a Washington team since 1999, when the Huskies tagged 12 runs on 17 hits in a victory over Tennessee (12-1) during the NCAA regionals.

The Fifth Is For Us: The 2001 Huskies have had alarming success in the fifth inning, outscoring opponents 20-1. The UW scored six runs against both New Mexico State and Maryland, three runs in the first half of a doubleheader with Tennessee-Chattanooga, two runs in the team's losses to South Carolina and South Florida, and one in its win over South Carolina.

Tia's Terrific: UW pitcher Tia Bollinger is picking up right where former All-American pitchers Jamie Graves and Jennifer Spediacci left off. Bollinger, at 8-1 overall, has all of the team's wins so far this season in the circle. 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 a solo one-hitter in the first half of a doubleheader with Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Bollinger had a no-hitter going with a career-best eight strikeouts in five innings versus Hofstra before giving way to junior Bridget Wilcox (Olympia, Wash.) in the sixth.

Hauxhurst's Hit Parade: UW outfielder Kelly Hauxhurst (Westminster, Calif.) has already set the tone for an outstanding senior season. She leads the team in batting with a .439 average, and is currently on an 11-game hitting streak, recording at least one hit in every game but the team's season-opener versus Louisiana State. Hauxhurst, however, has reached base at least once in all of the team's 12 games, tallying a walk against the Tigers. Hauxhurst 11-game hitting streak is just four games short of her career high, a 15-game mark in 2000.

Leadoff With Success: For the sixth consecutive season, the Huskies travel to one of the premier tournaments in the country - the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga. In 2000, Washington earned the tournament title with a 6-0 record and a 1-0 win over Fresno State in the championship game. The UW also won the NFCA Leadoff Classic in 1996 and finished third in 1997, 1998 and 1999. In a combined 29 tournament games, the Huskies have posted an overall record of 25-4.

Just The Facts: This year's edition of the NFCA Leadoff Classic includes 24 teams, 15 of which are ranked in the top 25. The tournament format consists of six, four-team pools. Following pool play, the top team from each pool, along with two at-large teams will advance in the gold championship bracket. The remaining four second-place teams and four at-large will go into the silver bracket and the final eight will play in the bronze bracket. All teams will play at least five games (three pool, two bracket), with bracket play beginning at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

Scouting the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (6-4): The Huskies will put their perfect 2-0 record on the line versus #23 Southern Mississippi, when the two schools face in Washington's tournament-opening game. In 2000, the UW opened its season with a doubleheader sweep of the Golden Eagles (9-4, 8-6) at the Pepsi Arizona Classic in Tucson, Ariz.

This season, the Golden Eagles, who advanced to the College World Series in 2000, are without a number of key members from a year ago, including NCAA strikeouts leader pitcher Courtney Blades and head coach Lu Harris, who moved to the University of Georgia. Junior Kristie Martin leads the Golden Eagles in batting, with a .364 average, while pitcher Felicia Gonzales (3-2) has posted three shutouts with an earned-run average of 1.53 and has not given up a run in her last three appearances.

Scouting the New Mexico Lobos (5-6): In the first scheduled meeting with the Huskies, New Mexico enters the tournament with a 5-6 record, recording a notable 11-3 victory over 11th-ranked Cal State Fullerton.

Under head coach Susan Craig, four New Mexico players are hitting over .350, including junior catcher Tiffani Chambers, who has a .400 average. Three Lobo pitchers have shared the starting duties in the circle, led by Amy Dumas, who has a 1-1 overall record to go along with a .000 earned-run average.

Scouting the Michigan State Spartans (0-5): The Spartans have gotten off to a rough start in 2001, dropping all five games last weekend at the Arizona State tournament, and having been outscored in the process, 6-43.

Under head coach Jacqui Joseph, utility player Robyn Golden leads Michigan State in batting with a .273 mark, including a home run and three RBI. Four Spartan pitchers have seen starting time in the team's first five games with junior Kari DeJong, who won a team-best 13 games in 2000, posting a 3.50 ERA.

Michigan State is the Huskies' second, first-time opponent scheduled for this weekend.

Family Feud: Washington senior Kelly Hauxhurst will face her sister Lacy for the first time collegiately when the Huskies meet Michigan State Saturday in both schools' final pool play game. Lacy, a sophomore catcher for the Spartans, also played for the same summer ball team, the Orange County Batbusters under coach Gary Haning, as her sister Kelly and fellow Huskies Jaime Clark (Tustin, Calif.), Christie Rosenblad (Fillmore, Calif.) and Rita Roach (Norwalk, Calif.).

High School Teammates Reunite: UW pitcher Tia Bollinger will have a chance to see fellow Mater Dei High School alumna, Michigan State's Shealee Dunavan ... Three Huskies will get a face their former high school teammates when the UW takes on New Mexico ... Husky pitcher Bridget Wilcox and New Mexico shortstop Sabrina Sandberg both played softball for Capital High School in Olympia, Wash. ... Washington freshman Amanda Oleson (Agoura Hills, Calif.) and Lobo Melissa Fetman attended Agoura High School ... UW senior Kelly Hauxhurst and New Mexico's Krissy Keene played softball at Westminster High School in Westminster, Calif. ... Washington senior Kim DePaul (Tomball, Texas) will play her second former teammate at Tomball High School so far this season in Southern Mississippi's Felicia Gonzales.

Down A Few: In the first regular season poll released by the NFCA, the Huskies dropped a few spots from fourth to 10th nationally. The number 10 ranking broke a streak of 66 polls in which the UW was ranked among the top six teams in the nation, going back to the first weekly poll in 1996.

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 407-145 record, accruing an incredible .737 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 611-306 (.666) also includes stints at Oregon and Minnesota, and ranks her in 21st among most winningest active coaches in division I history.

NFCA/USA Today Coaches' Poll (As of 2/21/01)

School Record Points LR
1. UCLA (19) 15-0 667 1
2. Arizona (6) 15-0 646 3
3. Oklahoma (2) 8-0 631 2
4. Alabama 9-0 540 5
5. California 7-0 533 7
6. (tie) Arizona St. 10-2 513 6
6. (tie) LSU 7-1 513 8
8. Fresno State 5-0 469 9
9. Stanford 12-1 419 15
10. Washington 6-4 413 4
11. CSU Fullerton 12-3 394 14
12. Iowa 4-1 370 13
13. DePaul 4-0 365 10
14. Notre Dame 6-0 319 19
15. Nebraska 5-4 297 12
16. (tie) Florida St. 11-1 244 17
16. (tie) Oregon St. 12-3 244 16
18. Michigan 2-4 207 11
19. South Carolina 8-6 186 18
20. Oregon 10-7 112 20
21. Texas A&M 10-4 94 NR
22. Texas 9-4 78 24
23. S. Mississippi 6-4 64 21
24. Massachusetts 3-2 59 NR
25. Florida Inter. 12-4 46 NR

Others Receiving Votes: North Carolina (41), Long Beach State (32), Pacific (25), Utah (25), Cal State Northridge (23), Southwest Texas State (23), Mississippi State (22), Baylor (17), Louisiana-Monroe (16), Wisconsin (14), Minnesota (13), Hawaii (12), Purdue (10), Florida Atlantic (9), New Mexico (9), Illinois-Chicago (6), Louisiana-Lafayette (4), Hofstra (2). Thirteen other schools (totaling 50 points) were mentioned on only one ballot and are not include among others receiving votes.

Huskies vs. This
Weekend's Opponents

New Mexico, Michigan St.: First Meeting
Southern Mississippi (2-0): W, 9-4 (2000),W, 8-6 (2000)

Player of the Week

Feb. 12 - Christie Rosenblad, UW
Feb. 19 - Tairia Mims, UCLA

Pitcher of the Week

Feb. 12 - Kirsten Voak, ASU
Feb. 19 - Maureen LeCocq, Stanford

2001 Pac-10 Standings
Overall Games

1. Arizona 15 0 0 1.000
2. UCLA 15 0 0 1.000
3. Stanford 12 0 0 1.000
4. California 7 0 0 1.000
5. Arizona St. 10 2 0 .833
6. Oregon St. 12 3 0 .800
7. Washington 8 4 0 .667
8. Oregon 10 7 0 .588

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