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2021 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Janelle Meoño to miss several more weeks for Arizona softball

2021-pac-12-softball-freshman-year-janelle-meono-miss-several-more-weeks-arizona Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It took a while to discover why starting Arizona centerfielder Janelle Meoño was having issues with her foot. The redshirt sophomore was still waiting for a readable scan on March 15 despite not playing since March 3. The news finally came back, and last year’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year will be out for several more weeks.

“It’s a stress fracture in her foot,” said Arizona head coach Caitlin Lowe. “I think she has like two to three weeks under her belt right now. So we’re gonna kind of go to the doctor every couple of weeks and make sure she’s on track.”

Meoño is working to stay prepared despite having a boot on her foot.

“She’s running in the underwater treadmill,” Lowe said. “She’s staying strong in the weight room, doing anything she can, so hopefully she’ll be ready as soon as that thing comes off.”

In the interim, true sophomore Giulia Koutsoyanopulos has been filling in for Meoño in centerfield. In the past, Koutsoyanopulos played primarily as a defensive replacement for Carlie Scupin at first base, but she has been strong in the outfield in Meoño’s absence. Playing for Team Italy in the run-up to last year’s Olympics helped her prepare.

“Well, G, I mean, she’s our Swiss Army Knife,” Lowe said. “She can do anything. I think she’s super athletic, a crazy defender, and has really done well in the box for us stepping in for Janelle. And we don’t really skip a beat in the outfield, I don’t think. She covers a lot of ground, has a strong arm and a lot of confidence out there. And she played centerfield for Team Italy...She held it down in centerfield, so she does have the experience.”

Koutsoyanopulos is hitting .405 with three extra-base hits, including a double, a triple, and a home run. She has six RBI and is 3-for-4 in stolen bases this year.