June 4, 2002
OKLAHOMA CITY - Arizona softball players Jennie Finch, Nicole Giordano and Lovieanne Jung have earned roster spots on the USA Women's National Team that will compete for an unprecedented fifth consecutive title at the ISF Women's World Championship in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, July 26-August 4.
Arizona coach Mike Candrea, recently named coach for the 2004 Olympic team, will head the coaching staff. They'll join USA Team member and two-time Olympic gold medallist Leah O'Brien-Amico, also a former Wildcat.
Finch completed her senior season this year and won the Honda Softball Award for a second consecutive season. Jung was the Wildcats' leading hitter in 2002 and will return in 2003 for her senior year. Giordano completed her four-year career in 2001 as one of the all-time top 10 Wildcat hitters.
The were among a group of 57 of the nation's top female softball players culled down to a 17-player roster for the World Championship through participation in a tryout camp May 30-June 2 in Chula Vista, Calif. The competition this summer is an early look at players who likely will contend for spots on the 2004 U.S. Olympic team.
A younger Wildcat, junior-to-be catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest, was selected to the USA Softball Elite Team that will compete against the National Team in workouts and later participate in the Canada Cup international competition in Surrey, British Columbia, July 12-25.
Only six members of the gold medal team from the 2000 Olympic Games remain for the World Championship O'Brien-Amico, Laura Berg, Lisa Fernandez, Lori Harrigan, Stacey Nuveman and Michele Smith.
Other new members are Amanda Freed, Keira Goerl, Lyndsey Klein, Nina Lindenberg, Jessica Mendoza, Tucsonan Tairia Mims, Jenny Topping and Natasha Watley.
Coaches include Candrea, Ken Eriksen of South Florida and John Rittman of Stanford.
"I think this team is very talented and is a good mix of young and experienced players," said Candrea. "I'm very excited to get the opportunity to work with a team that has a combination of both power and speed."
The 2002 ISF Women's World Championship serves as the major qualifier for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. The top five teams from the World Championship will qualify for Athens and will be seeded in the order they finish. The USA has been the top seed in the past two Olympics and looks to secure its third top seed during the World Championship.