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Kiihnl named to ASA Player of the Year "Watch List"
Whitney Kiihnl
Whitney Kiihnl

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, has selected its initial “Watch List” for the 10th Annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. This 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 this award include UCLA’s Stacey Nuveman, Florida State’s Jessica Van der Linden, three-time winner Texas pitcher Cat Osterman, Tennessee’s Monica Abbott, Virginia Tech’s Angela Tincher and two-time winner Washington’s Danielle Lawrie.

The 2011 Pre-Season Watch List is comprised of 50 players representing 36 schools and 15 different NCAA Division I Conferences with the Pac-10 Conference leading the way with seven schools represented. The list includes 23 seniors, 12 juniors and 15 sophomores.

Included on the list is Lipscomb junior pitcher Whitney Kiihnl. She is one of the most honored players in the history of Lipscomb athletics, winning both Atlantic Sun Pitcher of the Year and Atlantic Sun Player of the Year last season. She also was a member of the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-South Region First Team and an NFCA Third Team All-American.

“It’s a big honor for her and for our program to have a player honored on the national level,” Lipscomb Lady Bisons coach Kristin Ryman said. “It says a lot about where our program is right now and obviously the contribution she has made to that.

“It couldn’t happen to a better person. She comes to practice every day and works hard. She has the natural talent and natural ability but what a lot of people don’t see is her work ethic and how she has worked to improve her game from her freshman year until now.”

Kiihnl was 33-5 with 12 shutouts and a 0.95 earned run average in 2010. Her earned run average was the lowest in NCAA Division I.

“Whitney is the first player we have had on the list. She is very much a team-oriented person. She just wants our team to win. She continues to raise her expectation level.

“She also knows there are 15 other players around her that we are relying on as well. She is just one of the pieces of the puzzle.”

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. *Freshman qualify for the top 25 list once they have competed at the collegiate level.

Just days before the start of post-season 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.

2011 USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List

Name (School) – Year – Position – Hometown

Valerie Arioto (California) – Senior – Utility – Pleasanton, Calif.

Hillary Bach (Arizona State) – Junior – Pitcher – Tulsa, Okla.

Donna Bourgeois (Houston) – Senior – Pitcher – Lafayette, La.

Katelyn Boyd (Arizona State) – Junior – Infield – Phoenix, Ariz.

Kayla Braud (Alabama) – Sophomore – Infield – Eugene, Ore.

Stephanie Brombacher (Florida) – Senior – Pitcher – Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Anna Cahn (Cal Poly) – Senior – Pitcher/Designated Player – Los Alamitos, Calif.

Raven Chavanne (Tennessee) – Sophomore – Outfield – Thousand Oaks, Calif.

GiOnna DiSalvatore (UCLA) – Senior – Infield – Palm Harbor, Fla.

Kelsi Dunne (Alabama) – Senior – Pitcher – Port Orange, Fla.

Rachel Fico (LSU) – Sophomore – Pitcher – Oxford, Conn.

Kenzie Fowler (Arizona) – Sophomore – Pitcher – Tucson, Ariz.

Olivia Galati (Hofstra) – Sophomore – Pitcher – West Babylon, N.Y.

Alisa Goler (Georgia) – Senior – Infield – Frankfort, Ill.

Melissa Gonzalez (Hawaii) – Senior – Infield – Moreno Valley, Calif.

Kelly Grieve (Tennessee) – Senior –Outfield –Asheville, N.C.

Ashley Guile (Nebraska) – Junior – Utility – Olathe, Kan.

Meredith Hackett (Illinois) – Junior – Infield – Corona, Calif.

Sarah Hamilton (Florida State) – Senior – Pitcher – Tallahassee, Fla.

Ashley Hansen (Stanford) – Junior – Infield – Chandler, Ariz.

Andrea Harrison (UCLA) – Junior – Outfield – Garden Grove, Calif.

Alicia Herron (Ohio State) – Junior – Shortstop – Cypress, Calif.

Alex Holmes (UC Davis) – Senior - Pitcher/DP – San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

Whitney Kiihnl (Lipscomb) – Junior – Pitcher/Outfield – Batesville, Miss.

Brittany Lastrapes (Arizona) – Senior – Outfield - Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Blaire Luna (Texas ) – Sophomore – Pitcher – Austin, Texas

Kelly Majam (Hawaii) – Sophomore – Outfield - Pine Valley, Calif.

Jenna Marston (Missouri) – Sophomore – Infield - St. Louis, Mo.

Meagan May (Texas A&M) – Sophomore – Catcher/1B – Spring, Texas

Morgan Melloh (Indiana) – Senior - Pitcher – Fishers, Ind.

Jen Mineau (Fordham) – Junior – Pitcher - Schaghticoke, N.Y.

Abby Olson (Illinois State) –Senior- Infield – Hartsburg, Ill.

Toni Paisley (East Carolina) – Senior – Pitcher/Utility – Lakewood, Calif.

Samantha Pappas (Oregon) – Sophomore – Outfield – Las Flores, Calif.

Sara Plourde (Massachusetts) – Junior – Pitcher – Bristol, Conn.

Jessica Purcell-Fitu (BYU) – Senior – Catcher – Walnut, Calif.

Jamia Reid (California) – Junior - Outfield – Buena Park, Calif.

Ivy Renfroe (Tennessee) - Sophomore – Pitcher – Jackson, Tenn.

Keilani Ricketts (Oklahoma) – Sophomore - Pitcher – San Jose, Calif.

Hope Rush (Georgia Tech) – Sophomore – Pitcher – Stockbridge, Ga.

Jenn Salling (Washington) – Senior – Infield – Port Coquitlam, B.C., Canada

Taylor Schlopy (Georgia) – Senior – Outfield – West Hills, Calif.

Brittany Schutte (Florida) – Sophomore – Utility – Fountain Valley, Calif.

April Setterlund (Boston) – Senior – Outfield –Torrance, Calif.

Dorian Shaw (Michigan) – Senior – Infield – Burke, Va.

Kristen Shifflett (Radford) – Senior – Shortstop – Charlottesville, Va.

Jessica Shults (Oklahoma) – Sophomore – Catcher – Valencia, Calif.

Jordan Taylor (Michigan) – Senior – Pitcher – Valencia, Calif.

Rhea Taylor (Missouri) – Senior – Outfield – Buford, Ga.

Niki Williams (Washington) – Junior – Outfield – Mission Viejo, Calif.