No. 9 Softball Opens Its 10th Season In California

Jan. 30, 2002

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SEATTLE - This Week:
2/1 vs. LBSU (@ UCLA)! 11:30 a.m.
2/2 at CSU Northridge! 11 a.m.
2/2 vs. Louisiana-Monroe! 1 p.m.
2/3 vs. SJSU (@UCLA)! 9 a.m.
2/3 vs. SDSU (@UCLA)! 11 a.m.

Next Week:
2/8 vs. Florida Atlantic# 12 p.m.
2/8 at Florida State# 4 p.m.
2/9 vs. Louisville# 12 p.m.
2/10 vs. South Carolina# 9 a.m.

An Early Start: The ninth-ranked Washington softball team kicks off its 2002 campaign in California at the Early Bird Classic in both Northridge and Los Angeles, Calif., February 1-3.

The Huskies' game with Long Beach State on February 1, is the earliest season-opener in program history. In 2000, the UW kicked off its record-setting campaign on February 4, versus fifth-ranked Southern Mississippi at the Pepsi Arizona Softball Classic in Tucson, Ariz.

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.

Media Day: The Washington softball team will have a Media Day on Tuesday, January 29, at the Dempsey Indoor (north of Husky Stadium) at 2:00 p.m., prior to the start of practice. Coach Teresa Wilson and players will be available for interviews at that time.

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, which kicks off its 2002 campaign in Los Angeles, Calif., February 1, 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.

Begin With A 'W': The UW has had great success in season-openers, winning five of its last six and losing just three in program history. The Huskies are 33-12 (.733) on opening weekends, going undefeated in 1996 (6-0) and in 2000 (3-0), despite playing 23 ranked foes. The team has also kicked off its season in Arizona seven times and in California the other three years.

California Cruising : The Huskies will make their way to the Early Bird Classic hosted by Cal State Northridge this weekend. This is the second time the UW has played at a CSU Northridge tournament with the previous time being in 2000, when the Huskies went a perfect 4-0 en route to the Matador Invitational title.

Although the Matadors are the official tournament hosts, the UW will actually play three of its five games at Easton Stadium on the campus of UCLA. The Bruins' home field will be one of the two tournament sites, along with Matador Diamond in Northridge.

This year's tournament features seven teams, including: Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, Louisiana-Monroe, San Diego State, San Jose State, UCLA and Washington. Each school will play five games over the three-day span with no scheduled playoffs.

Scouting the Long Beach State 49ers (0-0): After a year layoff, the Huskies renew their rivalry with Big West Conference member Long Beach State. In the two schools' last meeting, the Huskies won the first half of the doubleheader, 4-0, but then fell to the 49ers in the second game, 1-0, as The Beach handed the UW one of its nine losses in 2000.

Under head coach Pete Manarino, Long Beach State returns seven of its nine starters from its 2001 squad, which went 24-29 overall and placed fourth in the Big West with a 12-9 record. The 49ers' top returning pitcher, sophomore Lindsey Knoff, went 11-14 overall in her freshman season, while sophomore first baseman Darcey Brown led the squad offensively with a .271 batting average.

The Huskies hold a 3-1 record in the all-time series between the two schools.

Scouting the CSU Northridge Matadors (0-0): The Huskies will also look to avenge a loss to Cal State Northridge, when the two schools meet Saturday. The UW won the first game of a doubleheader in 2001, 3-1, but then came up just one run short in a 3-4 loss in the second half, in a game shortened to six innings due to darkness.

The Matadors return five starters from their 2001 team, which went 32-24 overall and advanced to the NCAA regionals. Under first-year head coach Barbara Jordan, CSU Northridge's top returnees include sophomore outfielder/first baseman Christen Bedwell, who hit a team-best .296 in 2001, and senior pitchers Tanya Ledesma (4-4 in 2001) and Summer Richardson (3-3).

Northridge owns a 5-3 advantage in the all-time series with the Huskies, although the UW has won three of the four most recent meetings.

Scouting the Louisiana-Monroe Lady Indians (0-0): The Huskies face Louisiana-Monroe for the second time in program history, but for the first time since the Lady Indians officially changed the school's name from Northeast Louisiana University. The previous meeting between the two schools came in March 1995, when the UW blanked the Lady Indians 8-0 at the New Mexico State Tournament in Las Cruces, N.M.

A year ago, Louisiana-Monroe, under head coach Rosemary Holloway, went 31-22 overall, placing second in the Southland Conference with a 17-10 record. Seven of the team's nine starters in 2001 return this season, including shortstop Lori Tande, who hit .363 with 10 home runs, and pitchers Annie VanOosbree (20-9, 2.07 ERA) and Ashley Bellew (8-9).

Scouting the San Jose State Spartans (0-0): Washington also owns a 1-0 advantage in the series with San Jose State, as the Huskies defeated the Spartans 16-3 at the National Invitational Tournament on March 19, 1995.

Under second-year head coach Dee Dee Enabenter-Omidiji, San Jose State finished its 2001 season with a 26-41 record and a 5-15 mark in the Western Athletic Conference. Four starters return for the Spartans, including third baseman Veronica Ramos, who hit .286, and pitcher Candice Akin, who logged a 7-9 record in 26 appearances in 2001.

Scouting the San Diego State Aztecs (0-0): Both regional finalists a year ago, Washington faces San Diego State for the ninth time in program history, holding a perfect 8-0 record versus the Aztecs.

San Diego State surprised many by advancing to the regional final in 2001, recording a pair of wins over Wisconsin and one against CSU Northridge, before falling to UCLA, finishing the season with a 41-25 overall record. Gone, however, from last year's team is star pitcher Sandra Durazo, who went 30-15 overall in 47 appearances. This year's top returnees for coach Kathy Van Wyk, includes outfielders Kellie Nordahagen and Tiffany Goudy, who both hit over .300 a year ago, and senior pitcher Korin Gregory (5-3 in 2001).

Friend Or Foe: Former UW All-American Heather Meyer (1995-96) is in her first year as an assistant coach at Cal State Northridge ... Meyer is one of five former Husky standouts who are currently assistant coaches at NCAA Division I schools ... the others include Jen Cline (Nebraska), Becky Newbry (UC Santa Barbara), Sara Pickering (Stanford) and Heather Tarr (Pacific) ... UW assistant coach Drew Christmon also was an assistant softball coach at CSU Northridge from 1997-98, while finishing his bachelor's degree in kinesiology ... UW sophomore Rita Roach (Norwalk, Calif.) and SDSU freshman Jennifer Funk both attended St. Joseph High School in Lakewood, Calif.

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 (Tumwater, Wash.).

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 26 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 seven 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 accomodate 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 439-164 record, accruing an incredible .728 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 643-325 (.664) also includes stints at Oregon and Minnesota.

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