Softball Releases 2011 Schedule and Fall Exhibition Dates
KENT, Ohio - Carrying on what has become a five-year run of excellence in the Mid-American Conference, the Kent State softball program was presented with its next obstacle when the 2011 schedule was recently unveiled. Twelve different games on the Golden Flashes’ slate will feature opponents from the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
"It will be a challenging schedule for us," Head Coach Karen Linder said. "Our goal is for our early spring tournaments to prepare us for the MAC and put us in a position to win it."
Regular season play will get underway Feb. 12-13 at the Phoenix Leadoff Classic, which includes two games against host Elon. The following weekend (Feb. 18-20), KSU will have its hands full at East Carolina’s Pirate Classic, taking on three NCAA Tournament opponents.
"Our tournaments are where we will identify our starting pitching rotation," Linder said. "We’re going to be facing NCAA Tournament teams like East Carolina and Hofstra and a lot of teams that have been at the top of their conference."
KSU will then play five games on back-to-back weekends at the Florida Atlantic Invitational (Feb. 25-27) and Marshall Invitational (March 4-6). A spring break trip to the state of Florida will include four NCAA Tournament opponents in a seven-game stretch March 18-24.
The Flashes open their home schedule March 30, hosting a doubleheader with Pittsburgh. Later that week KSU begins conference play with a trip to Bowling Green (April 1) and Toledo (April 2-3).
"We’re going to be on the road more this year," Linder said of visiting seven MAC opponents this season. "That’s going to be another unique challenge for us, but we’ve had a lot of success on the road too."
Another six-game week begins April 6 with a doubleheader at Robert Morris. That weekend KSU will entertain Western Michigan and Northern Illinois April 8-10.
An April 13 doubleheader at Penn State puts the Flashes on the road for 8-of-10 contests concluding with a four-game weekend at defending MAC Tournament champion Ball State (April 22) and Miami (April 23-24). Seniors will celebrate their final weekend at home April 29 - May 1, hosting MAC East rivals Akron and Ohio.
The regular season wraps up May 6-8, taking on Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan. The MAC’s top eight teams will play for an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament May 11-14 at Firestone Stadium in Akron.
Kent State’s fall competition begins Sept. 18-19, visiting Ashland and Akron. The Flashes then host the KSU Invitational Sept. 25-26.