February 6, 2004 - by
FSU’s van der Linden Named To USA Softball’s Player Of The Year Watch List

Feb. 6, 2004

Oklahoma City, OK –
Although the 19th-ranked Seminoles didn’t get to start their season Friday as expected, there was still some good news for Florida State. Returning first team NFCA All-American Jessica van der Linden was one of 40 athletes named to USA Softball’s Collegiate Player of the Year watch list. The pitcher/outfielder was one of five finalists for the honor as a junior in 2003.

“It is an honor to come into a season and be named one of 40 players on the collegiate player of the year list but I am really only focusing on helping this team win,” said van der Linden. “Honors and awards are great but we have goals we want to meet as a team and those are most important.”

The Cerritos, CA native is coming off one of the most dominant all-around seasons in Florida State softball history. On top of being named just the fourth NFCA first team All-American ever at FSU; no player in the nation had a higher batting average and a lower ERA than the southpaw. The reigning ACC Player of the Year led the team in batting average, hits, doubles, triples and walks. She also finished 29th in the nation with a .412 batting average. In the circle, she was part of a staff that posted the fourth-lowest ERA in the NCAA in 2003 and she was sixth in the nation in strikeouts and 16th in ERA.

This award, which is considered the Heisman Trophy in women’s collegiate softball and is the only national player of the year award, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.

The initial watch list is comprised of 40 players that represent 26 colleges and 12 different collegiate Conferences. Even if a player doesn’t appear on the initial watch list, they are still eligible for the award. The players, listed in alphabetical order, are:

The first 25 finalists will be announced on April 6. The list will then be reduced to ten players on April 28,with three finalists being named on May 11. The winner of the 2004 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced at the 2004 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. The winner will also be recognized during the ASA National Council Meeting in Mobile, AL, in November.

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.

The Tribe will open its season Saturday, February 7 at 1:00 p.m. versus Illinois State (2-1). For more information on van der Linden and the 2004 Seminole softball team, please log on to the official athletic website for Florida State University at www.seminoles.com.

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