Feb. 2, 2011
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Senior GiOnna DiSalvatore and junior Andrea Harrison have been named to the initial watch list for the 10th Annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award, as announced by the Amateur Softball Association of America on Wednesday.
The award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. Past winners of the award include former Bruin great Stacey Nuveman. Megan Langenfeld, the most Outstanding Player of the Women's College World Series in 2010, was a top three finalist a year ago.
The 2011 preseason watch list is comprised of 50 players representing 36 schools and 15 different NCAA Division I Conferences with the Pacific-10 Conference leading the way with seven schools represented. The list includes 23 seniors, 12 juniors and 15 sophomores.
The ASA will announce the 25 finalists on April 13. A player does not have to appear on this initial watch list to be considered as a top 25 finalist. However, once the top 25 finalists are named the winner of the award will come from that list. Freshmen qualify for the top 25 list once they have competed at the collegiate level.
Just days before the start of postseason play, a list of 10 finalists will be named and released on May 11. The final three finalists will be announced May 25 while the winner of the 2011 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced prior to the start of the 2011 NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
DiSalvatore was named a first-team NFCA All-American, NFCA All-Region and first-team All-Pac-10 a year ago after leading the Bruins in runs scored (55), hits (81) and doubles (19) and finishing second with a .391 batting average. She was also third on the team in on base percentage (.451) and total bases (132), tied for third in runs batted in (53), fourth in walks (24) and fifth in slugging (.638) and home runs (10). DiSalvatore enters the 2011 season ranked fifth in UCLA history in doubles with 48, 11 shy of the school record.
Harrison also earned NFCA All-Region and first-team All-Pac-10 honors and was named to the WCWS All-Tournament Team after setting a Series record with 11 runs batted in and tying a Series mark with four home runs. She was third on the team with a .343 batting average and 17 homers and second with 55 RBI, a .677 slugging percentage and 134 total bases. Harrison was also tied for second with 15 doubles, 68 hits and six hit by pitches. She enters the 2011 season ninth in UCLA history in slugging at .598.
The defending national champion Bruins, ranked #1 in the preseason NFCA rankings, open their title defense by hosting the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament next weekend at Easton Stadium. UCLA will face Utah State (3:30 p.m.) and North Dakota State (6 p.m.) on Friday, North Dakota State (4:30 p.m.) and UCF (7 p.m.) on Saturday and San Diego State (2 p.m.) on Sunday. Live audio will be available for the first UCLA games each day at UCLABruins.com.