USA Softball Announces Roster for 2004 Women's National Team

Sept. 8, 2003

Oklahoma City, Okla. - USA Softball head coach Mike Candrea, who has taken a partial leave of absence from his head coaching duties at Arizona, announced today the list of 18-players, including four that have ties to the Wildcat program, that will train for the next 12 months in preparation of defending its gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Since the official Olympic roster consists of only 15-players, three of the 18 players selected will be named as alternates on January 5th. The final 15 will be nominated to theUnited States Olympic Committee as the team to represent the U.S. at the2004 Olympic Games.

The roster consists of four two-time Olympic gold medalists and six of the15-member 2000 Olympic Team. Thirteen of the 17 members of the 2002 WorldChampionship gold medal winning team remain intact.

Forty-six of the nation's top female softball players participated in the2003 USA Softball Olympic Trials, September 3-6 in Chula Vista, CA, and fromthat list the following 18-players were chosen.

Laura Berg, Santa Fe Springs, Calif. - Outfielder Laura Berg is one of fourtwo-time Olympic gold medalist to be selected to the 2004 Women's NationalTeam. Along with her two Olympic gold medals, Berg has captured gold atthree World Championships and two Pan American Games.

Crystl Bustos, Canyon Country, Calif. - Third baseman Crystl Bustos capturedgold at the 2000 Olympic Games and is one of the most feared hitters in thegame today. In 2003, she led the U.S. to a gold medal at the Pan Am Gamesafter collecting nine RBI in nine games.

Jaime Clark, Tustin, Calif. - Shortstop Jaime Clark is making her secondconsecutive national team after being part of the 2001 Pan Am QualifierTeam. A former standout at the University of Washington, Clark hit .778during the 2003 Pan Am Games.

Lisa Fernandez, Long Beach, Calif. - Right-handed pitcher Lisa Fernandez,who is widely regarded as the best softball player in the world, makes herthird consecutive National Team roster. She has pitched in last two Olympicand World Championship gold medal games.

Jennie Finch, La Mirada, Calif. - A right-handed pitcher, Jennie Finch addsto the strong pitching staff among the 2004 USA Softball National team. A2003 Pan American gold medalist and 2002 ISF World Champion, this marks herthird consecutive season with the national team. Finch played at Arizona from 1999-2002.

Amanda Freed, Cypress, Calif. - A 2000 Olympic team alternate, Amanda Freedjoins the 2004 National team roster as an outfielder/pitcher after takinghome the gold at the 2003 Pan American Games. In 2002, she also led the USASoftball National team to the ISF World Championship title.

Nicole Giordano, Saugus, Calif. - A 2003 Pan American gold medalist, NicoleGiordano lists among the outfielders named to the 2004 National Team.Making her third consecutive National Team appearance, she was also a memberof the 2002 ISF World Championship team. Giordano played at Arizona from 1998-2001.

Lori Harrigan, Las Vegas, Nev. - Left-hander pitcher Lori Harrigan is one ofthe four two-time Olympic gold medalists to be chosen for the 2004 Women'sNational Team. In the opening game of the 2000 Olympics, she became thefirst pitcher to throw a solo no-hitter in Olympic competition.

Lovieanne Jung, Westminster, Calif. - Second baseman Lovieanne Jung makesher third consecutive appearance on USA Softball Women's National Teamroster. She captured gold at the 2002 ISF World Championships and the 2003Pan Am Games. At the Pan Ams she hit .455 with a team leading 10 base hitsin nine games. Jung played at Arizona from 2002-03.

Kelly Kretschman, Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. - A 2000 Olympic teamalternate, this marks Kelly Kretschman's second season on the National teamroster. A member in 2000 and now 2004, the 5'6' outfielder led the 2003 USASoftball Elite team to the Canada Cup gold medal title and a sweep ofOlympic bronze medalist Australia in the Pacific Challenge.

Lauren Lappin, Anaheim, Calif. - The youngest member of the 2004 USASoftball National Team at 19, Lauren Lappin makes her first appearance amongthe national team ranks. During the 2003 season, this shortstop/catcher ledthe USA Softball Elite squad to the gold medal at the Canada Cup and a sweepof Olympic bronze medalist Australia in the Pacific Challenge.

Jessica Mendoza, Camarillo, Calif. - Outfielder Jessica Mendoza has been aconsistent member of the USA National Team since the 2001 season. She bringsexperience to the outfield after capturing gold at the 2002 WorldChampionships and the 2003 Pan Am Games.

Tairia Mims, Tucson, Ariz. - A utility player at first base, third base andcatcher, Tairia Mims joins her third national team after success as a 2002World Champion and 2003 Pan Am gold medalist.

Stacey Nuveman, La Verne, Calif. - Catcher Stacey Nuveman was an integralpart in the USA's come back during the 2000 Olympic Games. In the playoffsversus China she blasted the game winning home run and drove in the tyingrun in the gold medal game versus Japan.

Leah O'Brien-Amico, Chino Hills, Calif. - First baseman Leah O'Brien-Amicois considered as one of the best clutch players in the game. She is atwo-time Olympic gold medalist, two-time World Champion and two-time Pan Amgold medalist. She returned to national team competition in 2002 aftertaking a year off to give birth to her son Jake Thomas Amico. O'Brien-Amico played at Arizona from 1993-95, 1997.

Cat Osterman, Houston, Texas - Just one of two collegiate athletes on the '04 lineup, Cat Osterman will provide depth in the circle for the 2004National team. Leading the 2003 Pan American team to its fifth consecutivegold medal, the left-handed pitcher recorded a 2-0 record and tossed aperfect game against Canada in the gold medal game. In 2002, she was amember of the USA Softball Elite National team.

Jenny Topping, Whittier, Calif. - Providing depth behind the plate, Toppingenters the 2004 National team roster after taking home the 2003 Pan Americangold medal. A 5'6' catcher, this will be her third consecutive Nationalteam selection.

Natasha Watley, Irvine, CA. - A highly recognized shortstop, Natasha Watleyjoins her third National team after taking home the 2002 World title and2003 Pan American title. She was honored in 2003 by the NCAA as the TopCollegiate Female athlete and finished the 2003 season batting .432 in thelead-off spot for Team USA.

Candrea, who will be assisted on the USA Softball staff by Ken Eriksen (Temple Terrace, Fla.) from the University of South Florida and John Rittman, (San Jose, Calif.) from StanfordUniversity, will remain active with the Arizona program in a limited role. UA assitants Larry Ray and Nancy Evans will take over the day-to-day operation of the program during Candrea's stint as the USA Softball head coach.

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