Jan. 30, 2008
HOUSTON - University of Houston junior shortstop Jessica Valis was named to the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) Top 50 Watch List for 2008. This is the first selection to the watch list for the Shiner, Texas native.
The ASA is the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States. They announced their initial "watch list" today for the 7th Annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. The award is considered one of the most prestigious honors in collegiate softball. Past winners of this award include UCLA's Stacey Nuveman, Florida State's Jessica Van der Linden, three-time winner Texas pitcher Cat Osterman and 2007 winner Monica Abbott of Tennessee.
The preseason watch list includes 50 players from 34 schools and 14 different NCAA Division I Conferences. Valis and Rachel Folden of Marshall represent Conference USA.
Valis ranked in the Top 10 of C-USA in six offensive categories and improved all of those marks in conference play. She helped lead the Cougars to a 20-4 record in conference action and a program best 44-18 record overall. She was named the 2007 C-USA Player of the Year and joined the Cougars in an appearance in the NCAA Regionals. Valis was also named to the NFCA All-South Region Second Team.
Prior to the start of the season, Valis was named to the C-USA Preseason All-Conference Team and was also named the 2008 Preseason Player of the Year. Houston was named the preseason favorite in the annual coaches poll for the third-straight season. They will look to defend their C-USA title in both the regular season and the conference tournament in 2008.
The ASA will announce the 25 finalists for the Player of the Year award on April 9. Prior to the start of post-season play the list will be narrowed down to 10 finalists on May 7. The three finalists will be named on May 21 and the winner will announced prior to the start of the 2008 NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla.
The Cougars open the 2008 season with a double-header against McNeese State on Feb. 8 at 3pm and will play Nicholls State on Feb. 9 at 1pm.