ELON, N.C. – Elon University head softball coach Kathy Bocock announced the program’s 2015 schedule on Monday, Dec. 15. The 55-game slate includes seven contests versus NCAA Tournament teams and the Phoenix’s inaugural foray into Colonial Athletic Association play.
“We are very excited about the 2015 schedule,” said Bocock, who begins her fourth season at the helm of the Phoenix softball program. “I think we put together a very challenging and solid schedule featuring some familiar teams and some first-time opponents.”
Elon hosts its first season-opener at its two-year old facility, Hunt Softball Park, on Feb. 7-8. The maroon and gold opens with a doubleheader against USC Upstate and Radford on Saturday before closing out the weekend with a rematch against the Highlanders on Sunday at noon.
“Since we’ve traveled on the road to start the year the last two seasons, we are very excited to be opening at our new stadium for the first time,” said Bocock. “USC Upstate is a well-coached team that went to the NCAA Regionals last season and Radford is another team that is very competitive and we’re looking forward to them coming here that weekend.”
Elon then heads to Athens, Ga., for its lone road tournament of the year at the Red and Black Showcase, hosted by the University of Georgia on Feb. 13-14. The Phoenix will face Troy and Georgia to open the tournament before closing out against SIU-Edwardsville and the Bulldogs again on the final day. Two years ago, Elon upset the then eighth-ranked Bulldogs, 5-2, handing Georgia its first season-opening home loss since 2005. The win was also the Phoenix’s first-ever against a top-10 opponent.
After a midweek home game against Campbell on Feb. 18, Elon hosts its first true home tournament of the season, the Phoenix Opening Tournament, on Feb. 20-22. The maroon and gold welcomes the field of UMBC, Youngstown State and LaSalle to Hunt Softball Park.
After a single game at in-state rival North Carolina on Feb. 25, the Phoenix hosts its second tournament of the year, the Elon Softball Tournament, on Feb. 27-March 1. Central Connecticut State, Brown and Niagara will all make the trip to Elon.
The Phoenix then goes into a slate of non-conference games versus some familiar in-state opponents. Elon hosts NC State on March 4, before heading to North Carolina A&T the following day. The maroon and gold continues its road trip to Charlotte on March 11, and then hosts North Carolina Central on March 13. The Phoenix then visits former conference and I-40 rival UNCG for the first of a home-and-home series March 15. The two programs will meet again in Elon on March 25.
A home twin bill versus Rider on March 17, and a single-game against East Carolina on March 18, sets the stage for the Phoenix’s CAA-opener at College of Charleston on March 21-22.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun playing in (the CAA),” said Bocock. “There are a lot of competitive teams in this league including some that we are familiar with from previous years. I’m looking forward to starting and building a relationship with the coaches and their programs.”
After a pair of non-conference games at Radford (March 24) and versus UNCG (March 25), Elon heads to Philadelphia to play Drexel in its second CAA road series of the year on March 28-29. The squad continues its road swing to Blacksburg, Va., for a game at Virginia Tech, a 2014 NCAA Regional team, on April 1.
The Phoenix hosts its first CAA series against Towson on April 4-5. Elon then treks to Boone, N.C., for a doubleheader versus another former conference foe in Appalachian State on April 8.
Elon goes back into league play with its second CAA home series versus Delaware (April 11-12) before facing North Carolina A&T again at Hunt Softball Park on April 15. The Phoenix then travels to Hempstead, N.Y., for a league series at Hofstra (April 18-19) before returning to host Longwood on April 21.
Elon closes out its 2014 road slate with a series at defending CAA champion James Madison (April 25-26). After an early week game versus North Carolina Central (April 28), the Phoenix welcomes UNC Wilmington to Hunt Softball Park for its regular-season finale on May 1-2.
The 2015 CAA Softball Championship is set to begin on Wednesday, May 6, to Saturday, May 9. The location and the field for the championships will be based on the regular season results as the top four teams qualify for the tournament.