Jan. 29, 2009
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Tennessee Lady Vol junior catcher/first baseman Tiffany Huff has been tabbed alongside 49 other softball student-athletes from across NCAA Division I to the annual watch list for the prestigious USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award.
This marks the second consecutive season that the Saugus, Calif., native has been included among the nation's best and the sixth straight campaign that Tennessee has boasted at least one student-athlete among the organization's preseason listing, including such former Lady Vol All-Americans as Monica Abbott, Lindsay Schutzler and Tonya Callahan.
The watch list is comprised of 50 players representing 32 schools and 13 different NCAA Division I Conferences. The ASA plans to announce the 25 finalists on April 1. A player does not have to appear on the initial watch list to be considered as a top 25 finalist, however, once the top 25 are named the winner of the award will come from that list. Freshman can qualify for the final 25 once they have competed at the collegiate level.
Just days before the start of post-season play, a list of 10 finalists will be chosen and released on May 6. The remaining three finalists will be announced on May 20 while the winner of the 2009 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be selected prior to the start of the 2009 NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla.
UT's Abbott was the recipient of the 2007 USA National Player of the Year trophy on the basis of an outstanding season that saw her record a 50-5 mark with a 0.68 ERA and a national single-season record 724 strikeouts. During the year the Salinas, Calif., native also broke the career NCAA records for wins, appearances, innings pitched, shutouts and strikeouts while guiding the Big Orange to a national runner-up finish at the Women's College World Series. Callahan was a top three finalist for the trophy in 2008 after tallying a .465 batting average, to lead the Southeastern Conference, a school single-season record 16 home runs and 62 RBIs.
Huff would suffer no sophomore jinx in 2008 by following up a stellar rookie season with a powerful second campaign in the Orange & White. Entering the year as a preseason Second-Team All-SEC choice and a member of the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List, Huff hit .313 (55-of-176) while starting all 66 contests for the Lady Vols and delivering a team-best 18 doubles with three home runs and 50 RBIs. She demonstrated her defensive versatility by drawing starts at four different positions in 2008: catcher (28 starts), first base (12 starts), right field (19 starts) and designated player (seven starts). For her efforts she was included for the initial time in her career on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-South Region Team. As a result of drawing 44 walks, she tallied a .452 on-base percentage to help her climb to seventh all-time in Tennessee history in that category. Huff currently resides just outside the Lady Vol Top 10 in RBIs (108) and two-baggers (29). She also registered 14 multi-RBI and 10 multi-hit games during the 2008 campaign.
2009 USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List
Name - School - Year - Position - Hometown
Valerie Arioto (California) - Sophomore - Utility - Pleasanton, Calif.
Brandice Balschmiter (Massachusetts) - Senior - Pitcher - Newark, N.Y.
Chelsea Bramlett (Mississippi State) - Junior - Catcher/Infield - Cordova, Tenn.
Ashley Brignac (Louisiana-Lafayette) - Sophomore - Pitcher - River Ridge, La.
Neena Bryant (Oregon) - Outfield - Junior - Placentia, Calif.
Ashley Charters (Washington) - Senior - Infield- Beaverton, Ore.
Kaitlin Cochran (Arizona State) - Senior- Outfield - Yorba Linda, Calif.
Lauren Delaney (Northwestern) - Junior - Pitcher - Jefferson City, Mo.
GiOnna DiSalvatore (UCLA) - Sophomore - Utility - Palm Harbor, Fla.
Krista Donnenwirth (Arizona State) - Sophomore - SS/Third Base - Mission Viejo, Calif.
Angela Findlay (Michigan) - Junior - Outfield - Lockport, Ill.
Ali Gardiner (Florida) - Senior - First Base - Waccabuc, N.Y.
Lauren Grill (Mississippi) - Junior - Infield - Tualatin, Ore.
Alissa Haber (Stanford) - Junior - Outfield- Newark, Calif.
Becca Heteniak (DePaul) - Junior - Pitcher - Simi Valley, Calif.
Tiffany Huff (Tennessee) - Junior - Catcher/First Base - Saugus, Calif.
Amanda Kamekona (UCLA) - Senior - Infield - Chino Hills, Calif.
Megan Langenfeld (UCLA) - Junior - Pitcher/First Base - Bakersfield, Calif.
Brittany Lastrapes (Arizona) - Sophomore - Outfield - Laguna Niguel, Calif.
Danielle Lawrie (Washington) - Junior - Pitcher - Langley, British Columbia
Jenae Leles (Arizona) - Senior - Third Base - Fair Oaks, Calif.
Robin Mackin (Nebraska) - Junior - Pitcher - Newmarket, Ontario
Sam Marder (Ohio State) - Junior- Catcher - Calabasas, Calif.
DJ Mathis (Oklahoma) - Senior - Pitcher - East Alton, Ill.
Morgan Melloh (Fresno State) - Sophomore - Pitcher - Fishers, Ind.
Noelle Micka (Nevada) - Sophomore - Catcher - Garden Grove, Calif.
Rachel Mitchell (LSU) - Junior - Outfield - LaPorte, Texas
Kelley Montalvo (Alabama) - Senior - Utility - Miami, Fla.
Charlotte Morgan (Alabama) - Junior- Pitcher/Utility - Moreno Valley, Calif.
Kara Nelson (Illinois State) - Junior - Third Base - Moline, Ill.
Stacey Nelson (Florida) - Senior - Pitcher - Los Alamitos, Calif.
Nikki Nemitz (Michigan) - Junior - Pitcher - St. Clair Shores, Mich.
Megan Patton (DePaul) - Senior - Third Base - Forsyth, Ill.
Missy Penna (Stanford) - Senior - Pitcher/Infield - Miami, Fla.
Haley Perkins (Fresno State) - Senior - Infield - Fresno, Calif.
Brette Reagan (Baylor) - Senior - Infield - Magnolia, Texas
Samantha Ricketts (Oklahoma) - Senior - First Base - San Jose, Calif.
Brittany Rogers (Alabama) - Senior - Outfield - Dacula, Ga.
Jamie Schloredt (Sacramento State) - Senior - Catcher - Woodland, Calif.
Kirsten Shortridge (LSU) - Junior - Pitcher/Outfield- Keller, Texas
Danielle Spaulding (North Carolina) - Junior - First Base/Pitcher - Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Jordan Taylor (Michigan) - Sophomore - Pitcher - Valencia, Calif.
Rhea Taylor (Missouri) - Sophomore - Outfield - Buford, Ga.
Brooke Turner (Long Beach State) - Sophomore - Pitcher - Buena Park, Calif.
Jessica Valis (Houston) - Senior - Infield - Shiner, Texas
Laurie Wagner (Houston) - Senior - Outfield - Houston, Texas
Kim Waleszonia (Florida) - Senior - Outfield - Fontana, Calif.
Megan Wiggins (Georgia) - Sophomore - Infield - Snellville, Ga.
Tammy Williams (Northwestern) - Senior - Infield - Roscoe, Mo.
Jen Yee (Georgia Tech) - Junior - Second Base - North Delta, British Columbia