NEW YORK, N.Y. – Former Tennessee Lady Vol softball player and current U.S. National Team and Washington Glory (National Pro Fastpitch--NPF) pitcher Monica Abbott was presented with the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sportswoman of the Year award in the “Team Sport” category on Monday night at the 28th-annual Women in Sports Gala at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, New York.
Abbott was chosen the winner of the prestigious honor after receiving over 9,400 votes from a record number of respondents who logged on at SportsWomanVote.com.
“Just to be named a finalist for this prestigious award is an honor; winning the award goes beyond words,” said Abbott. “Now being in the same company with amazing athletes such as Mia Hamm, Bonnie Blair and Cat Osterman is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. It’s always humbling to be recognized for your achievements and being named the Sportswoman of the Year by the Women's Sports Foundation is one of the honors that you really remember.”
In its 28th year, the Women’s Sports Foundation Annual Salute to Women in Sports is a celebration of women’s sports and recognizes the achievements of all female athletes from myriad sports.
Annually, the Foundation crowns two Sportswomen of the Year—one each in Team and Individual categories—and names the Billie Jean King Contribution Award and Wilma Rudolph Courage Award winners. This year’s award winners are: Lorena Ochoa, Individual Sportswoman of the Year; Monica Abbott, Team Sportswoman of the Year; Michelle Kwan, Billie Jean King Contribution Award winner; and the Rutgers Women’s Basketball Team, Wilma Rudolph Courage Award winner. Presented by Advanta Corp., ESPN and Gatorade, the awards dinner annually nets more than $1 million for the Foundation and its programs.
In her senior season with the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteer softball team, Abbott won the 2007 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year trophy in May and was named the 2006-2007 Roy F. Kramer SEC Female Athlete of the Year in June. Also in June, the Salinas, Calif., native won the prestigious Honda Award for Softball after registering a national-best 50-5 overall record with a 0.68 ERA and 29 shutouts to go along with a NCAA Division I single-season record 724 strikeouts during her senior season. Abbott led her team to the 2007 Women's College World Series, a runner-up national finish, and the 2007 Southeastern Conference regular-season title. She ended the 2007 season having set new NCAA Division I career records for wins (189), strikeouts (2,440), shutouts (112), appearances (253) and innings pitched (1448.0). Abbott is also the Lady Vols' first four-time NFCA First-Team Softball All-American, as well as being a three-time Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year winner and four-time All-SEC pick.
As a member of the U.S. national team, she found similar success. Throughout the month of July, which saw Team USA win three gold medals, Abbott led the way for the pitching staff. She posted a team-best 6-0 record in seven appearances. She allowed only one run in 13 hits and 26.2 innings pitched. Abbott was third on the team with 46 strikeouts and allowed no extra base hits. She was also the only pitcher on the staff who allowed no walks during her appearances. Abbott closed out national team play at the Pan Am Games in Brazil, hurling a two-hit shutout with eight strikeouts over five innings against Canada to secure the gold for Team USA, the program’s sixth-consecutive Pan American gold medal.
Other nominees in addition to Abbott in the “Team Sport” category for 2007 included: WNBA all-star Lauren Jackson (basketball), World Championship gold medalist Sandra Kiriasis (bobsled), Northwestern All-American Kristen Kjellman (lacrosse), U.S. National Team legend Kristine Lilly (soccer), reigning Most Valuable Player at the World Championship of Wheelchair Basketball Danielle Peers (wheelchair basketball), Women’s World Champion Kelly Scott (curling) and Canadian National Team member Hayley Wickenheiser (ice hockey).