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Junior captain is four homeruns away from breaking the all-time Ohio State record. 

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Sam Marder, a junior catcher on the No. 17 Ohio State softball team, was named one of 25 finalists for the 2009 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year earlier this week, as selected by the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA), the National Governing Body of softball in the United States. This is the second-consecutive season the Calabasas, Calif., native has been named a Top 25 finalist for the award that is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I collegiate softball.

“It is such an honor to be included in the company of all these incredible athletes,” Marder said. “Any individual success that I have is a reflection of this team’s success and that is always my first priority.”

Marder currently leads the Big Ten in homeruns this season with 14 and has 38 for her career, moving her to within four of breaking the career record 41 set by Kristine Himes in 2000-03. Earlier this season, she shattered the record for career walks and now holds 132 free bases on balls to her credit. The first-year captain also boasts a 1.025 slugging percentage this season, with 83 total bases behind her, and 32 RBI (135 career, third all-time). Behind the plate, Marder has a .996 fielding percentage with 202 put-outs and 22 assists, while foiling nine of 13 stolen base attempts.

This is the eighth year of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award, which is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. Past winners of this award include UCLA’s Stacey Nuveman, Florida State’s Jessica Van der Linden, three-time winner Texas pitcher Cat Osterman, Tennessee’s Monica Abbott and Virginia Tech’s Angela Tincher.

The Top 25 list represents 17 schools and seven different NCAA Division I Conferences. The list is comprised of nine seniors, 12 juniors, three sophomores and one freshman. The 2009 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be chosen from the 25 finalists. 

Just days before the start of post-season play, a list of 10 finalists will be named and released on May 6. The three finalists will be announced May 20th  while the winner of the 2009 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced prior to the start of the 2009 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.

2009 Top 25 Finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year
Name School Year Position Hometown

Chelsea Bramlett (Mississippi State) Junior Catcher/Infield Cordova, Tenn.
Stacey Chambers (Arizona) Junior Catcher Glendale, Az.
Ashley Charters (Washington) Senior – Infield Beaverton, Ore.
Kaitlin Cochran (Arizona State) – Senior- Outfield – Yorba Linda, Calif.
Kelsi Dunne (Alabama) Sophomore Pitcher Port Orange, Fla.
Francesca Enea (Florida) Junior Outfield Woodland Hills, Calif.
Amber Flores (Oklahoma) Junior Infield Calexico, Calif.
Alisa Goler (Georgia) Sophomore Infield Frankfort, Ill.
Alissa Haber (Stanford) Junior Outfield- Newark, Calif.
Ashley Hansen (Stanford) Freshman Infield Chandler, Az.
Tiffany Huff (Tennessee) Junior Catcher/First Base Saugus, Calif.
Cheyenne Jenks (Florida Gulf Coast) Senior Infield Naples, Fla.
Brittany Lastrapes (Arizona) Sophomore Outfield – Laguna Niguel, Calif.
Danielle Lawrie (Washington) Junior – Pitcher Langley, British Columbia
Jenae Leles (Arizona) Senior Third Base Fair Oaks, Calif.
Sam Marder (Ohio State) Junior Catcher – Calabasas, Calif.
Charlotte Morgan (Alabama) Junior Pitcher/Utility Moreno Valley, Calif.
Stacey Nelson (Florida) Senior Pitcher Los Alamitos, Calif.
Nikki Nemitz (Michigan) Junior Pitcher St. Clair Shores, Mich.
Amber Patton (DePaul) Senior Third Base – Forsyth, Ill.
Missy Penna (Stanford) Senior Pitcher/Infield Miami, Fla. 
Brittany Rogers (Alabama) Senior Outfield – Dacula, Ga.
Kaila Shull  (UCLA) Junior Catcher/Outfield Lodi, Calif.
Danielle Spaulding (North Carolina) Junior First Base/Pitcher – Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Tammy Williams (Northwestern) Senior Infield – Roscoe, Mo.

About ASA
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 83 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 240,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit http://www.asasoftball.com/.

About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of the only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won eight World Championship titles including the last six consecutive as well as claimed two World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com/.