Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Cats make 2008 Olympic team
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 28, 2008
Related Links

USA Softball Womenˇ?s National team?named for '08 Beijing Olympic Games

Lovie Jung
Jennie Finch
Caitlin Lowe
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. ?C Arizona's Jennie Finch, Lovie Jung and Caitlin Lowe were today named by the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) to the 15-person roster that will compete this August in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Alicia Hollowell was name as an alternate. Tucsonan Tairia Flowers, a UCLA grad, also made the team for her second Olympics.

The 15 athletes will look to defend three consecutive Olympic Gold Medals when they begin competition in China on August 12.

"I am very excited about this team and its ability to continue the excellence that USA Softball has come to expect at the Olympic Games," said head coach Mike Candrea, Arizona's coach currently on a partial leave of absence to work with Team USA.

"This team is built around a core of veteran players that bring a tremendous amount of International and Olympic Games experience. With the addition of some very good young talent, this team will be well balanced between speed, power, pitching and defense."

"We look forward to our preparation and the challenges that the Olympic Games in Beijing will bring with great excitement and anticipation," he said.

Finch and Jung were gold medalists on the 2004 squad that won in the Athens Olympics in Greece. Lowe will be competing in her first Olympics, as would Hollowell as a replacement.

Arizona has had another softball Olympian -- three-time gold medalist Leah O'Brien-Amico, who was par of winning teams at the Atlanta (1996), Sydney (2000) and Athens Olympics.

In all, 21 Wildcats have been part of USA Softball competition on various tours and in training camps for junior teams and the national team including current players Callista Balko, Brittany Lastrapes, K'Lee Arredondo and Lindsey Sisk.

The 2008 USA Softball Womenˇ?s National Team roster includes ten 2004 Olympic Gold Medalists, 13 members of the 2006 World Championship team, and all were on the 2007 Pan American Gold Medal team.

As the National Governing Body of Softball, ASA and USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting womenˇ?s, menˇ?s, junior girlsˇ? and junior boysˇ? National Teams that compete in international and domestic competitions. The evaluation is based on the quadrennial dating back to September of 2004.

The final roster for the 2008 Olympic Team must be submitted to the United States Olympic Committee for final approval by July 1, 2008.

Below are the 15 members of the 2008 USA Softball Olympic team roster:

Monica Abbott, Salinas, Calif. (University of Tennessee ˇ®07) ?C Abbott, the youngest member of the team, is a two-time member of the National Team. She has also competed as a member of the 2004 World University Team and 2003 Junior Team. Abbott led the pitching staff in 2007 with a 6-0 record for a 0.00 ERA. In 26.2 innings pitched, she issued no walks and no earned runs.

Laura Berg, Santa Fe Springs, Calif. (Graduate ˇ?98) ?C Outfielder Berg is the one three-time Olympic gold medalist to be selected to the 2008 Womenˇ?s National Team. Along with her three Olympic gold medals, Berg has captured gold at four World Championships and three Pan American Games. She also received the honor of carrying the flag during closing ceremonies at the 2007 Pan American Games.

Crystl Bustos, Canyon Country, Calif. (Palm Beach C.C.)
Bustos has established herself as one of the most feared hitters in the World and will look to earn her third Olympic gold medal. The team will look to her for a repeat performance of the ˇ®04 Games where she broke Olympic records with five homeruns and 10 RBI.

Andrea Duran, Selma, Calif. (UCLA ˇ?06) ?C Making her first Olympic team, Duran has been a member of the National team for three seasons after spending time on the World University, Elite and Junior team rosters. Solid at third base, Duran made an impressive run the past summer including a grand slam at her first Pan American Games. She is also a two-time World Cup Champion as well as 2006 World Champion.

Jennie Finch, La Mirada, Calif. (Arizona ˇ?02) ?C Two-time World Champion Finch will look to become a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in her seventh consecutive year on the National team. Finch has dominated in the circle, even coming back three months after having her son Ace in 2006 to compete the remainder of the season. Finch made two appearances at the ˇ?04 Games, working 8.0 innings with 13 strikeouts.

Tairia Flowers, Tucson, Ariz. (UCLA ˇ?04) ?C Starting first baseman with a powerful swing, Flowers has been a solid player for the Red, White and Blue as she vies for her second Olympic Gold Medal. With six seasons of experience at the National level, the 2004 Olympian emerged this past 2007 leading the team throughout the summer with a batting average of .543 including her first career grand slam at the World Cup of Softball.

Vicky Galindo, Union City, Calif. (Cal ˇ?05) ?C After suffering a broken arm at the beginning of the Bound 4 Beijing tour, Galindo battled back to make her first Olympic team roster. She is the perfect combination of speed, power and defensive play. Seeing time at second and designated player, she is coming off an outstanding 2007 summer where she was second on the team with a .500 (18-for-36) batting average and no errors in the field.

Lovieanne Jung, Fountain Valley, Calif. (Arizona ˇ?03) ?C Second baseman Jung will be making her second Olympic squad after being a solid fixture on the National Team level since 2002. She is a two-time World Champion and Pan American Champion and is looking to earn her second-Olympic gold medal after drawing a team-high five walks during the ˇ?04 Games.

Kelly Kretschman, Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. (Alabama ˇ?01) ?C A 2000 Olympic team alternate and 2004 Olympic team member, Kretschman makes her second Olympic roster coming back stronger than ever. Kretschman played in all nine games of the 2004 Games and was the only one on the roster to hit at least one single, double, triple and homerun for a .333 average.

Lauren Lappin, Anaheim, Calif. (Stanford ˇ?06) ?C After being a 2004 Olympic alternate, Lappin has persevered to make her first ever Olympic roster. During the four years, she has developed as a utility player at catcher and middle infield. Lappin had a stellar return to the National Team roster in 2007, hitting fourth on the team with a .480 (12-for-25) average while teaching herself to bat both left and right handed.

Caitlin Lowe, Tustin, Calif. (Arizona ˇ?07) ?C The leadoff batter over the past three seasons, Lowe has earned her first spot on an Olympic roster having a presence on the program since 2005. She has led the team during the quad making an appearance in all events, with a .402 average while she is second on the team during the quad with 63 runs scored.

Jessica Mendoza, Camarillo, Calif. (Stanford ˇ?02) ?C Outfielder Jessica Mendoza has been one of the top run producers on the USA National Team since the 2001 season and will continue as she makes her second Olympic roster. In 2006, she played a major role in the U.S. winning its first World Cup as well as its seventh-World Championship title, including hitting the game winning homerun in the Gold Medal game of the World Championships.

Stacey Nuveman, La Verne, Calif. (UCLA ˇ?02) ?C
Leading with experience, catcher Stacey Nuveman returns to her third Olympic roster after being an integral part in both the 2000 and 2004 gold medal victories. She had the only hit of the 2000 gold medal game and a homerun in the 2004 gold medal game. Nuveman returns to the squad after taking off the 2007 season with the birth of her son, Chase.

Cat Osterman, Houston, Texas (Texas ˇ?07) ?C Osterman has emerged as one of the best pitchers in the world, defeating some of the worldˇ?s top teams as she makes her second Olympic team roster. She has earned the start and complete game in the circle in big games including the championship games at both the 2006 World Championships and 2006 and 2007 World Cup.

Natasha Watley, Irvine, CA. (UCLA ˇ?05) ?C A highly recognized shortstop, Natasha Watley joins her second Olympic roster after an exceptional 2007 season. She hit .466 with 27 hits and a team-high two triples, scoring 21 runs. The speedster started all nine games at the 2004 Games, tying a team-best 12 hits for a .400 average.


Below are the replacement players of the 2008 USA Softball Olympic team:

Lisa Fernandez, Long Beach, Calif. (UCLA ˇ?95) ?C Right-handed pitcher Lisa Fernandez made her return this year to the National Team roster after a three year hiatus with the birth of her son Antonio. She has pitched in three Olympic games, including earning the win in the circle of the Gold Medal 5-1 victory over Australia in 2004 as well as a top offensive contributor hitting .545 (12-for-22) at the Games.

Alicia Hollowell, Suisun, Calif. (Arizona ˇ?06) ?C Hollowell, in her third-consecutive year on the National team, brings another right-handed pitcher to the pitching staff. Hollowell earned her first World Championship in 2006.

Jenny Topping, Whittier, Calif. (Cal-State Fullerton ˇ®03) ?C Providing depth behind the plate, Topping, a 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist, is on the National team roster for her seventh season. Topping earned the starting spot as catcher in 2007 with Nuveman out for the season. Topping saw action in four games during the 2004 Olympic Games, going 4-for-6 for a .667 average.

Mike candrea USA
UA's Mike Candrea in his other hat
Coaches for the 2008 USA Softball Women's Olympic Team will be head coach Mike Candrea (Casa Grande, Ariz.) from the University of Arizona, assistant coach Chuck Dˇ?Arcy (Sacramento, Calif.), assistant coach Karen Johns (Charlottesville, Va.) and assistant coach John Rittman (San Jose, Calif.) from Stanford University.

The USA Softball Womenˇ?s National Team has a record of 24-4 over the last three Olympic Games including an undefeated 9-0 record at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, outscoring opponents 51-1. The team broke 16 records in 2004 including breaking eight of their own records previously set. On top of three Olympic Gold Medals, the U.S. women are eight-time World Champions and two-time World Cup Champions