UMass Announces 2014 Softball Schedule
Jan. 7, 2014
AMHERST, Mass. - A total of 15 home games and nine contests against teams from the last year's NCAA Tournament highlight the 2014 Massachusetts softball schedule as announced by interim head coach Kristi Stefanoni Wednesday.
The Minutewomen will be led by Stefanoni, associate head coach Danielle Henderson and assistant coach Staci Ramsey as the program looks to maintain the standard of excellence from former head coach Elaine Sortino.
The tournament portion of the schedule will see UMass participate in the FAU Kickoff Classic (Feb. 14-16), the NFCA Leadoff Classic (Feb. 21-23), Louisville's Red and Black Classic (Mar. 7-9) and the USF Under Armour Showcase (Mar. 14-16).
"The beginning of the season takes us to various tournaments affording us the ability to compete against top teams from the SEC, Big 12, Big 10 and the American Athletic Conference," Stefanoni said. "We also will take on the challenge of a new tournament at the University of Louisville Red & Black Classic adding outstanding competition for our program.
"These tournaments make us better, improve our competitive edge and help us take our game to the next level while propelling us towards Atlantic 10 competition and the goal of an NCAA tournament appearance."
A-10 play will send UMass on the road for the first two weekends, begin March 22 at Saint Louis followed by a trip to the nation's capital and a date with George Washington.
The home opener is scheduled for March 25 against Boston College. Other non-conference teams on the slate include regulars Boston University and Connecticut, along with newer additions Maine, Marist and Yale.
"There are many outstanding softball programs in the country and when the possibility develops to host an institution your program does not traditionally play you need to take on that challenge," Stefanoni said. "We strive to constantly bring first-class softball to Sortino Field each season through traditional rivalries as well as exploring opportunities that will sustain the excitement and high level of play for both players and fans.
"The opportunity to host institutions such as Marist and Yale, enhances our schedule while competitively challenging our players during the mid-season mark of the schedule."
UMass will celebrate Senior Day against Saint Joseph's on April 26 as it opens a seven-game homestand to close the regular season. The annual Fan Fest is on May 3 against A-10 newcomer George Mason.
The Atlantic 10 Championship will be held at Bahoshy Field in Bronx, N.Y., May 7-10.
"I think our schedule is outstanding this year as we have the opportunity to play many exceptional teams from some of the top conferences in the country," Stefanoni said. "In addition we have added many teams who appeared in the 2013 NCAA Tournament further adding to the competitive nature of our 2014 season schedule."
UMass welcomes back 14 letterwinners and five starters from a year ago, while adding six freshmen.
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