ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team released its 2014 schedule on Monday, Dec. 2, as announced by Phoenix head coach Kathy Bocock. The maroon and gold is slated to play in 54 regular-season games with 26 coming at the Phoenix’s second-year facility, Hunt Softball Park.
The Phoenix’s schedule includes dates with four teams that participated in last year’s NCAA Tournament as well as its home tournaments – the Phoenix Opening and the Phoenix Clash.
“We put together a great 2014 schedule,” said Bocock, who begins her third season at the helm of the softball program. “I felt that we’d put together a very competitive slate of non-conference games to help us build confidence and prepare for Southern Conference play.”
Elon will open the season on Feb. 8-9, at the Charleston Southern Tournament in North Charleston, S.C. The Phoenix faces UNC Wilmington on Opening Day, Feb. 8, followed by a matchup with Maryland Eastern Shore. The Phoenix and the Hawks square off in a rematch the next day with Elon closing out the tournament against host Charleston Southern.
After an away game at North Carolina on Feb. 12, the Phoenix travels for its second early season tournament in DeLand, Fla., for the Hatter Invitational on Feb. 14-15, hosted by Stetson. Elon faces Campbell in the opener of the tournament followed with a game against Delaware. The maroon and gold wraps up competition the next day against Bethune-Cookman and Stetson.
“We’re going to a couple of quality tournaments at the beginning of the year with some competitive fields,” added Bocock. “Along with that, we’re playing against a tough ACC school in UNC and a couple of programs from the CAA in our early portion of the schedule.”
The Phoenix begins a 14-game slate at home starting with the Phoenix Opening Tournament on Feb. 22-23 with Niagara, Saint Joseph’s, UMBC and Iona making up the field. After a midweek contest against in-state rival Charlotte on Feb. 26, the maroon and gold hosts its second tournament at Hunt Softball Park, the Phoenix Clash, during the weekend of March 1-2, as Coppin State, Dayton and Presbyterian make the trip to Elon.
“Playing so many games at home at a great facility like Hunt Softball Park gives our fans a chance to get a closer look at this year’s team,” said Bocock. “It also gives the team a great opportunity to play against some great opponents at home before we hit SoCon play.”
After hosting Presbyterian again on March 5, the Phoenix concludes its homestand with a two-day series versus Radford (March 8-9) and against Syracuse (March 11). Elon then travels to Cullowhee, N.C., for its first SoCon series of the year at Western Carolina on March 15-16.
The squad will host Towson in a single game on March 19, before heading to Statesboro, Ga., on March 22-23, to face Georgia Southern for its second league road series. The Eagles won the SoCon Tournament championship last season and participated NCAA Tournament.
Elon continues its road trip in Raleigh, N.C., with a contest against another 2013 NCAA Tournament participant in NC State on March 26. Elon then hosts its first SoCon series against Furman on March 29-30.
The Phoenix and North Carolina A&T meet for a pair of home-and-home games on April 2, in Elon and again on April 9, in Greensboro, N.C. Sandwiched between those games, the maroon and gold travels to Chattanooga for a series on April 5-6. The Phoenix swept the Lady Mocs last season in a series for the first time in school history.
Elon welcomes Appalachian State to Hunt Softball Park on April 12-13 for a series against last year’s SoCon regular-season champion. Last season in Boone, N.C., Elon’s Carleigh Nester tied a NCAA Division I softball record against the Mountaineers with three doubles in a single game.
After a couple of non-conference games on the road at Longwood (April 15) and East Carolina (April 18-19), Elon closes out the month with home contests versus Samford (April 26-27) and North Carolina Central (April 30).
The maroon and gold wraps up its 2014 regular-season slate at local rival UNCG on May 3-4. The Spartans will also host the SoCon Championship for the second straight season starting on May 7-10.