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2 Pac-12 softball stars among 25 finalists for NFCA Freshman of the Year award

Apr 28, 2022

A pair of Pac-12 freshmen — Arizona State's Cydney Sanders and UCLA's Savannah Pola — were named finalists for the 2022 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award on Thursday.

Twenty-five student-athletes from 15 different conferences made the initial list of candidates, which will be narrowed to 10 finalists on May 12 and a final three on May 26. The winner will be announced Tuesday, May 31 prior to the start of the Women’s College World Series.

Pola and Sanders are vying to become the first Pac-12 softball student-athlete to win the NFCA Freshman of the Year award since UCLA's Rachel Garcia in 2017.

Sanders has been one of the top hitters in the Pac-12 this season, ranking second in the conference in slugging percentage (.962), third in batting average (.429) and RBI (48), and fourth in homers (16). 

The San Marcos, California native leads No. 14 Arizona State in homers and RBI. 

"This is a great honor for Cydney to be listed among the best in the country, just as a freshman," ASU head coach Trisha Ford said in a release. "She's worked hard to be here and I look forward to seeing what else she will contribute to the program."

Pola has been a consistent force for the the No. 3-ranked Bruins, starting in all 42 games and racking up 11 multi-hit games this season.

The Santa Ana, California native leads the Pac-12 in doubles (13) while hitting .341 with five homers and 35 RBI.