Previous recipients of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award are Stacey Nuveman (UCLA, 2002), Cat Osterman (Texas, 2003, 2005 and 2006), Jessica Van der Linden (Florida State, 2004), Monica Abbott (Tennessee, 2007), Angela Tincher (Virginia Tech, 2008), Danielle Lawrie (Washington, 2009 and 2010), Ashley Hansen (Stanford, 2011), Keilani Ricketts (Oklahoma, 2012 and 2013), Lacey Waldrop (Florida State, 2014), Lauren Haeger (Florida, 2015), Sierra Romero (Michigan, 2016), Kelly Barnhill (Florida, 2017) and Rachel Garcia (UCLA, 2018 and 2019). A 2020 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award was not given out due to the COVID-19 pandemic and season cancellation.
The Top 3 Finalists for the 2021 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year include three seniors representing three NCAA Division I universities and two athletic conferences. Representing Oklahoma and the Big 12 Conference is Jocelyn Alo while the Pac-12 Conference is represented by UCLA’s Rachel Garcia and Washington’s Gabbie Plain. All three Finalists will kick off the 2021 postseason this weekend as each of their collegiate programs are set to host an NCAA Regional.
The 2021 Big 12 Player of the Year, Jocelyn Alo, leads the nation in home runs (47) and slugging percentage (1.120) while ranking second in RBIs (75) and fifth in batting average (.479). In her senior season at the University of Oklahoma, Alo earned First-Team All-Big 12 honors and has recorded a hit in all but six games of the 2021 season.
Three-time Pac-12 Player of the Year, Rachel Garcia, boasts a nation-leading 0.60 ERA with an undefeated 14-0 record, two saves and 124 strikeouts in 94 innings. A dual threat for the Bruins, Garcia has also blasted 11 home runs for the UCLA offense while posting a .362 batting average and a team-leading .766 slugging percentage.
The Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, Gabbie Plain, leads the nation in strikeouts (302) and ranks in the Top 10 in shutouts (11) and wins (29). Leading the Pac-12 in almost every pitching category including wins, strikeouts, complete games and finishing third in ERA, Plain has racked up 14 double-digit strikeout performances while totaling four no-hitters.
The winner of the 2021 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced on Tuesday, June 1 prior to the NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS). The presentation will be hosted virtually in conjunction with the reveal of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) / Schutt Sports Freshman of the Year. The virtual ceremony will begin at 8 p.m. CT and will be available to watch live on USASoftball.com.
The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year is voted on by coaching representatives of 10 Division I Conferences in the 10 USA Softball Regions, members of the media who consistently cover Division I Softball across the country as well as past winners of the award.