Abbott up for Player of Year

Lady Vol freshman Monica Abbott is among 25 finalists for the 2004 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award.

The honor is presented by the Amateur Softball Association, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, and USA Softball. The prize, considered the Heisman Trophy in women's collegiate softball and the only national player of the year hardware, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.

Abbott has enjoyed a tremendous season for 12th-ranked Tennessee (39-9/12-5 SEC) and has shattered virtually all of the school's pitching records for a single campaign with over a month remaining. The left-hander is 32-5 in the circle and has compiled an earned run average of 0.78, with 14 solo shutouts and four shared shutouts with sophomore Stacey Jennings (Aurora, Colo.). She leads the Southeastern Conference with 421 strikeouts in 234 innings and is currently third on the NCAA list for strikeouts by a freshman. She has tossed a perfect game, four no-hitters, five one-hitters and six two-hitters over her 31 starts. Abbott claimed the first 17 decisions of her career and had a 12-game winning streak halted last weekend. She has been chosen as the SEC's Pitcher of the Week on three different occasions, including the past two.

Other SEC players among the Player of the Year finalists are Nicole Barber and Kim Wendland of Georgia, Iyhia McMichael of Mississippi State and Kristin Schmidt of LSU.

NOTE: Monica Abbott is profiled in the current issue of Rocky Top News, which features a cover shot of prep quarterback Jonathan Crompton.

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