Sophomore Raven Chavanne
April 13, 2011
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (34-6, 12-4 Southeastern Conference) boasts two of the Top 25 national finalists for the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year trophy in sophomore outfielders Kat Dotson and Raven Chavanne according to a Wednesday release from the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America.
Considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women's collegiate softball, the award is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. Now in its 10th year, past winners of the honor include UCLA's Stacey Nuveman, Florida State's Jessica Van der Linden, three-time winner Texas pitcher Cat Osterman, Tennessee's Monica Abbott, Virginia Tech's Angela Tincher and two-time winner Washington's Danielle Lawrie. Tennessee softball has now boasted at least one student-athlete among the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Top 25 finalists for eight consecutive seasons, including former and current Lady Vol All-Americans such as Monica Abbott (2004-07), Sarah Fekete (2006), Lindsay Schutzler (2007), Tonya Callahan (2008), Huff (2009) and Chavanne (2010).
Lady Vol senior center fielder Kelly Grieve and sophomore pitcher Ivy Renfroe had been listed among the original Top 50 on the preseason "Watch List." The UT duo failed to make the cut down to the final 25 candidates, however, as seven players that weren't included in the original preseason release, including Dotson, were added to Wednesday's finalist listing.
Dotson is currently hitting .433 overall and leads the Lady Vol softball squad in RBIs (55), slugging percentage (.775) and on-base percentage (.540) to go along with a career-high 10 HR's. Only one player in UT program history (Tiffany Huff) has had more total RBIs (57) through the first 40 games of the year than Dotson. Chavanne currently guides the way for Tennessee in overall hits (54), runs scored (47) and stolen bases (23) while owning a.422 batting average and a .507 on-base percentage.
The Top 25 list represents 17 schools and six different NCAA Division I Conferences and is comprised of nine seniors, six juniors, nine sophomores and one freshman. The 2011 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be chosen from the 25 finalists. Just days before the start of post-season play, a list of 10 finalists will be named and released on May 11. The three finalists will be announced May 25th while the winner of the 2011 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced on May 31st prior to the start of the 2011 NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Tennessee'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 prestigious trophy in 2008 after tallying a .465 batting average, to lead the SEC, a school, single-season record 16 home runs and 62 RBIs.