Dec. 6, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS -- Head coach Jessica Allister and the University of Minnesota softball program have released their 2013 schedule, which includes 56 regular season games and has the Gophers traveling to six in-season tournaments prior to the start of Big Ten Conference play.
The schedule will present a challenge, as the Golden Gophers will play a total of 18 games against 11 teams which qualified for the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
"We are excited about the schedule we have ahead of us for the 2013 season," Allister said. "We are facing some great opponents early on, which will give us a good idea of where we are as a team and where we need to be. I know the team is excited to get back on the field to compete."
Minnesota, which is coming off back-to-back 31-win seasons under Allister, will open its schedule at the Sportco Kick-Off Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. (Feb. 9-10). The Gophers' first three games at the tournament are against opponents that all made last year's NCAA Tournament and combined to win 132 games. Minnesota faces DePaul and Louisville on the first day before playing Texas Tech and host UNLV on day two.
The following weekend, Minnesota will travel to Tempe, Ariz., for Arizona State's Littlewood Classic. The Gophers will play defending Missouri Valley Conference champion Illinois State and Northern Iowa twice each on the first two days, before playing ASU on the final day. The Sun Devils have advanced to the Women's College World Series the past two seasons, and captured the 2011 NCAA title.
The Gophers will compete in the first of two tournaments in the Sunshine State when they head to Fort Myers for the Florida Gulf Coast Tournament (Feb. 22-24). FGCU is coming off a 38-24 season in which it defeated Florida at an NCAA Regional.
Minnesota's busy travel schedule continues when it heads to Auburn, Ala., for the War Eagle Classic (March 1-3). Once again, the host school is coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance.
Allister will take her Gophers to her alma mater, Stanford University, March 8-10 for the Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic. Three of the five games in Palo Alto will be against 2012 NCAA qualifiers, as Minnesota will face the Cardinal twice and will once again play FGCU, as well as having a pair of games against 2011 NCAA qualifier Pacific.
The Gophers will then head back to Florida for FSU's Sunshine Classic (March 15-17). All four games Minnesota plays will be against 2012 NCAA Tournament teams, as they'll face the host Seminoles twice, with a pair of games versus Georgia Southern in between. While in Tallahassee, the Gophers also will play a March 19 doubleheader at Florida A&M.
The Big Ten will institute a new schedule format in 2013, as teams will play three games per weekend, with one game per day beginning on Fridays. All teams will play a 23-game conference slate, each with seven three-game series and one doubleheader.
Minnesota will have home series versus Wisconsin (April 5-7), Illinois (April 12-14), Michigan State (April 19-21), and Indiana (May 3-5). The Gophers will play three-game road series at Iowa (March 22-24), Northwestern (March 29-31), and Ohio State (April 26-28), while playing its league doubleheader at Nebraska (April 10).
The Gophers also have home non-conference twinbills scheduled versus Iowa State (April 24) and Green Bay (May 1).
For ticket information regarding any of Minnesota's home games this season, please visit www.mygophersports.com.
First Pitch with Maddie Houlihan
Our final freshman to introduce you to before season is Maddie Houlihan out of Plymouth, Minn.
Groenewegen Named to Watch List
Sara Groenewegen has been selected to the “Watch List” for the 2016 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award for her second straight season.
First Pitch with Taylor Chell
With season less than two weeks away get to know one of the newest Gophers in freshman outfielder Taylor Chell.