The Amateur Softball Association announced the selection of Tennessee's Monica Abbott as the recipient of the 6th Annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award.
The USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by NCAA Division I collegiate softball players across the country. This marks the second consecutive year that Abbott has been named as a top three finalist for the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year and the fourth consecutive year she was named as a top 10 finalist.
“I have worked so hard and have come so close to getting this award that I can’t really put it into words what this honor means to me and I am very humbled” said Abbott after receiving the honor at the opening ceremonies of the NCAA College World Series. “I would like to thank USA Softball and the University of Tennessee for giving me the honor to be a contender for this award.”
In her final campaign at the collegiate level, Abbott is leaving a mark on a sport that she has been playing since she was seven. So far this season she has broken the career NCAA Division I record for wins, strikeouts, shutouts and appearances. She picked up her third Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year award and was named as a first-team All-SEC and All-South Region selection. She now leads the nation all-time with 185 career victories, 2,365 strikeouts, 108 shutouts and 247 appearances. She currently leads NCAA Division I with 649 strikeouts, 46 wins and in strikeouts per seven innings at 14.5.
“Monica Abbott is very deserving of any award she gets because she epitomizes everything that is right about college softball,” said Tennessee Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly. “She is an honor student and a team leader. She has great character and a great work ethic. She always puts the team first. She is now and has always been the captain of our ship. Karen and I are proud to have coached her.”
Abbott has thrown 22 career no-hitters with six perfect games during her time at Tennessee, with five of those coming in 2007. With 649K’s, she is just 14 short from tying the NCAA Division I single season record for strikeouts of 663 set by former Southern Miss hurler Courtney Blades in 2000.
The three finalists for the 2007 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award, listed in alphabetical order, were Abbott, Arizona State sophomore Kaitlin Cochran and Oklahoma sophomore Samantha Ricketts.
A replica of the award will be placed in a permanent display in the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, along with photos of the winner. An additional replica of the award will be presented to the player’s academic institution at a designated event in the fall.
Cat Osterman of the University of Texas became the first three-time winner of the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award in 2006 after leading her Longhorns to the Big 12 regular season title and a berth into the NCAA Women’s College World Series. Past winners of the award include Stacey Nuveman (UCLA-2002), Osterman (Texas-2003, 2005, 2006) and Jessica Van der Linden (Florida State-2004).