June 10, 2007 — Monica Abbott, a University of Tennessee senior and two-time Honda Sports Award nominee, has been chosen the nation’s top collegiate female softball player for 2007.
The honor is based on the results of national balloting among 1,000 NCAA member schools as part of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program, now in its 31st year.
Abbott’s victory will earn her the Honda Sports Award, given annually to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports, along with automatic nomination for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.
She was voted over three other nominees: Kaitlin Cochran and Katie Burkhart a sophomore and junior respectively at Arizona State University; and Caitlin Lowe, a senior at the University of Arizona. The nominees in softball were selected by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
“When I found out that I had been nominated for the second time for the Honda Award, I thought to myself what a great opportunity it is,” said Abbott. “Everyone who has won this award for softball in the past has been a fantastic athlete and role model. And what a privilege it is to win an award in a program in which Mia Hamm and Jackie Joyner Kersee have been honored!”
A native of Salinas, CA, softball pitcher Monica Abbott ended her 2007 season leading the nation with a 50-5 overall record along with a 0.68 ERA and 29 solo shutouts in 358.1 innings. Abbott, a four-time NFCA All-American with NCAA Division I career records for wins (189), appearances (253), strikeouts (2,440), shutouts (112) and innings pitched (1448.0), established the single-season strikeout record of 724 during her senior year. The 6’3” left-hander holds virtually every career and single-season pitching record at the University of Tennessee.
As the 2007 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year, Abbott led the University of Tennessee Lady Vols to the program's first three Women's College World Series, three straight top-three national finishes, the 2007 Southeastern Conference regular-season title and a 2006 SEC Tournament Championship. Additionally, she helped the Lady Vols achieve a sterling overall record of 246-51, the best of any four-year class in the school’s softball history. She was the three-time Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year and a four-time All-SEC selection. Abbott threw 23 no-hitters and six perfect games over her four years in the Orange & White.
A communication studies major, Abbott is slated to graduate from the University of Tennessee in May 2008, and will continue her studies during her training with the U.S. National team. “I definitely have Olympic dreams in the future and would like to play softball for as long as I can,” noted Abbott. “After that, I’d like to become a motivational speaker for children at the elementary school through high school level. And of course coach softball one day,” she added.
Previously announced Honda Sports Award recipients include the University of Miami’s Audra Cohen for tennis; Duke University’s Amanda Blumenherst for golf; Northwestern University’s 3-time Honda Sports Award winner, Kristen Kjellman for lacrosse; the University of Georgia’s Courtney Kupets for gymnastics; the University of Tennessee’s Candace Parker for basketball; the University of Georgia’s Kara Lynn Joyce for swimming; the University of Nebraska’s Sarah Pavan for volleyball; the University of North Carolina’s Heather O’Reilly for soccer; the University of Maryland’s Paula Infante for field hockey and Texas Tech’s Sally Kipyego for cross-country. Honda Sports Award winners in track & field will be announced shortly. The Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year will be determined by separate balloting involving all NCAA-member institutions and the winner will receive the Honda-Broderick Cup at Columbia University in New York on June 25th 2007.