March 28, 2008
Oklahoma City, Okla. -
Former Stanford standouts Jessica Mendoza ('02) and Lauren Lappin ('06) were named to the 15-person U.S. National Team roster that will compete this August in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China announced the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) today. These 15 athletes will look to defend three consecutive Olympic Gold Medals when they begin competition in China on Aug. 12.
Stanford's head coach, John Rittman, was named to the USA Team's coaching staff for the Olympic Games last September and will coach both former players at the Games this summer. Rittman has been involved as a coach with the USA Softball National Team program since 2001. Most recently he served as an assistant coach for the team that won back-to-back titles at the World Cup of Softball and a sixth consecutive World Championship. In 2004, he coached for the USA Olympic Team that won a gold medal in Athens, Greece. Rittman joins Mike Candrea, Chuck D'Arcy and Karen Johns on the 2008 Olympic Team coaching staff.
Mendoza, a four-time first-team All-American at Stanford, has been one of the top run producers on the USA National Team since the 2001 season and will make her second appearance at the Olympic Games this summer. In 2006, she played a major role in the U.S. winning its first World Cup as well as its seventh World Championship title, and hit the game winning homerun in the Gold Medal game of the World Championships. Mendoza is one of ten 2004 Olympic gold medalists to return to the roster for 2008.
After being a 2004 Olympic alternate, Lappin, a two-time All-American and Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year at Stanford, has persevered to make her first 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.
"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. "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."
The USA Softball Women'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.