June 7, 2004
Tallahassee, FL –
The dream season for Seminole softball player Jessica van der Linden continued on Monday when the most decorated female athlete ever at Florida State University was named the Honda Award winner for softball. This is the second national player of the year honor for the senior and she is now the only player ever to win both the Honda Award and USA Softball National Player of the Year award. This the 28th year that The Honda Award has been presented by the Board of Directors of The Collegiate Women’s Sports Awards and van der Linden now joins 11 other female athletes who have qualified for the Honda-Broderick Cup, which is awarded to the nation’s Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.
“This has been an amazing year for me as far as team goals and personal goals are concerned,” said van der Linden. “It is almost to the point where I am speechless. It is hard to keep finding ways to express how grateful I am for the honors but this award means so much to me. I would like to thank Honda and the Collegiate Woman Sports Awards for helping make a dream come true.”
A two-time first-team All-American, van der Linden finished the 2004 season hitting .401 as she became the first ever Seminole to hit .400 in two seasons and she did it in back-to-back years. She finished the year with a new single season record for RBIs (55) and strikeouts (387). With her 10th double of the year at the WCWS she also became to only Seminole ever to record 50 career doubles and the only FSU player ever to record four straight seasons with 10 or more doubles. She set career records for strikeouts RBIs and walks and finished with the second-highest career batting average in FSU history.
On the largest stage of all, the Cerritos, CA native showed the softball world why she was worthy of national player of the year honors. Her .714 batting average and 1.286 slugging percentage were just two of the many reasons she became just the third Seminole ever named to an All-WCWS team. In just seven at bats at the World Series, van der Linden recorded five hits, including a double and a home run, she scored two runs and drove in two RBIs. She didn’t have a single strikeout at the plate either. She also pitched 16 innings including a complete game shutout of No. 7 Washington in an elimination game. She fanned 21 batters and issued just four walks. All four of her runs came versus national runner-up Ca. She did not allow an earned run in either of her other two appearances.
The American Honda Motor Car Co., Inc. will donate $5,000.00 to the women’s athletic program at Florida State on van der Linden’s behalf. A press conference announcing the winner of The Honda-Broderick Cup will be held in New York City at the Low Library at Columbia University June 21, 2004 at 11:00 a.m. Darby Cottle is the only Seminole to ever win the Honda Award for softball and no Florida State athlete has ever won The Honda-Broderick Cup. Only two softball players have ever won the Honda-Broderick Cup and both were from UCLA (Natasha Watley and Lisa Fernandez).
NOTE: Florida State finished the 2004 season ranked fifth in both the ESPN/USA Softball Poll and the USA Today/NFCA poll. It is the second top five final ranking for FSU in the last three years. Florida State joins UCLA, Arizona and Cal as the only four teams to finish ranked in the top five two of the last three years.