May 9, 2007
GREENSBORO, N.C. –
Through the first half of the season, Florida State freshman Monica Montez bided her time in the Seminoles’ outfield rotation, but when the opportunity arrived to be in the everyday starting line-up she made the most of her chance. As a result, she became the sixth rookie in school history to be named ACC Freshman of the Year as announced by the league office.
“I was definitely shocked, even though some time has set in I’m still shocked,” Montez admitted. “This is a tremendous honor. Coming in I never thought about winning any awards, all I wanted to do was help the team win. I tried to approach every game the same way and as the season went on I got more comfortable.”
Montez (Corona, Calif.) is the first Seminole since Tiffany McDonald won the award in 2005. Florida State’s other four recipients were: Veronica Wootson (2004), Jessica van der Linden (2001), Kristy Hull (1995) and Shamalene Wilson (1993).
When it came time for conference games Montez was at her best as she rated second during ACC games with a .429 batting average. She also led the league with a pair of triples and was also ranked in the top ten for hits, total bases, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
“Monica really stepped it up and excelled particularly in those ACC games,” FSU head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf said. “That really got her the attention of the coaches when it came time to do the voting. Our freshmen have really contributed in some high pressure situations. If you just looked at them you couldn’t tell they were freshmen. They’ve had great composure and they’ve welcomed the challenge.”
In addition, Montez was one of five Seminoles named to one of the two All-ACC teams with a Second Team selection. She is the first Florida State rookie since Melissa Wood in 2005 to be honored on the All-ACC team.
Montez has made 32 starts this season between right field (14), designated player (12) and left field (6). In addition to her ACC rankings, she is also ranked in the top five on the team in six offensive categories.
“All of the freshmen have done a great job this year,” Montez added. “It has really helped me knowing that there are a lot of people in the same situation as me and we’ve done a really good job as a group being there for each other and supporting one another.”
The Corona High School product has a flair for hitting dramatic home runs. Her first collegiate bomb was a walk-off home run to end the title game of Seminole Classic. She finished Florida State’s 14-inning marathon with Maryland with a two-run home run in the bottom of the 14th.
Montez and her teammates start play during the ACC Tournament on Thursday against North Carolina.