Softball Announces 2009 Schedule
Oct. 9, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana head softball coach Michelle Gardner announced the 2009 schedule on Thursday. The schedule features 13 teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season, including five teams that were among the 16 teams that received a seed in the tournament. The season opener will be on Feb. 6 against San Diego State in Los Angeles, Calif. as part of the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament hosted by UCLA.
"We have an extremely challenging schedule this year, with two trips to California to take on some of the top programs in the country," said Gardner. "But we are excited and looking forward to the chance to compete against the best college softball has to offer."
In addition to San Diego State, the Hoosiers will also play Cal State Fullerton on the first day of the season before returning the next day to play Pacific and UCLA. On the final day of the tournament, IU will face Cal Poly in the first of two scheduled meetings this year.
The following weekend, the Hoosiers pay a visit to the Lone Star State to take on a pair of the top teams in the Big XII, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, at the Crowne Plaza Classic hosted by the University of Houston.
The weekend of Feb. 21-22, Gardner and the Hoosiers will be making their first appearance in Florida, this time on the campus of Florida State University for the Seminole Classic. The first game in Tallahassee will see the Hoosiers take on the University of California - Riverside followed by games against East Carolina and Michigan on day two.
And the fourth weekend of the season sends Indiana back to the west coast for the DeMarini Invitational at Cal State Fullerton. Among the teams IU will face in Fullerton will be Stanford, California - Riverside, Auburn, Oregon State and Cal Poly.
After taking a well-deserved weekend off, IU heads back out on the road the weekend of March 13-15 for the USF-Under Armour Showcase in Clearwater, Fla. There, the Hoosiers will play the three other teams in their bracket before moving on to the tournament portion of the weekend in the evening on Saturday and then all day Sunday. The first team in the bracket that IU will play is Jacksonville followed by a pair of NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago, BYU and Hofstra.
"Our early season tournaments will definitely put us to the test, especially right off the bat," said Gardner. "But they will give us invaluable experiences that we will be able to take with us into the Big Ten season and beyond."
The Big Ten schedule awaits the Hoosiers when they arrive back in Bloomington, as the Minnesota Golden Gophers pay a visit to the IU Softball Field for the home opener. It should be pointed out that the Big Ten schedule was revised this season, with teams playing each other once on Saturday and once on Sunday this year as opposed to one on Friday and Saturday and then a doubleheader on Sunday as they did in the past. As a result, the regular season schedule for the Big Ten was moved up a week and the Big Ten Tournament was eliminated.
"The conference has changed the regular season format this season so it will be an adjustment for everyone," said Gardner. "Since we don't have a conference tournament, teams have to be ready to go right from the start because every game takes on so much more meaning."
After opening the conference schedule, IU returns to non-conference games on March 24 and 26 against Louisville and Indiana State, respectively. The second weekend of Big Ten action will also see the Hoosiers at home, playing host to the Wisconsin Badgers on March 28 and 29.
The next three games are on the road for Indiana, starting with a midweek contest at Evansville on March 31 and followed by a weekend series at Northwestern on April 4-5. Then on April 8, the first of three midweek conference doubleheaders takes place when Ohio State travels to Bloomington. That weekend the Hoosiers then are back on the road at Michigan State for single games on April 11 and 12.
The first of two midweek conference doubleheaders on the road comes against Illinois on April 15 followed by a Wednesday afternoon game on April 22 at home against Ball State, the final non-conference game of the season.
From here, the Hoosiers close with weekend series' against Iowa (April 25-26) at home and Penn State (May 2-3) on the road with a doubleheader at Michigan on April 29 sandwiched in between. And the regular season concludes with a doubleheader at the IU Softball Field on May 9 against the rival Purdue Boilermakers.
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