ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team and head coach Kathy Bocock announced the program’s 2017 schedule on Monday, Dec. 12. The competitive 56-game slate includes 30 games at Hunt Softball Park, eight contests against Atlantic Coast Conference schools and four matchups versus opponents that reached the 2016 NCAA Softball Tournament.
“I’m looking forward to the start of our 2017 season this spring,” said Bocock who is in her sixth season at the helm of the Phoenix softball program. “I feel like we put together a very competitive, strong schedule this year that will help us compete in a very tough league in the (Colonial Athletic Association).”
Here is the breakdown of the 2017 Elon softball schedule: 2017 Schedule
Home Sweet Home
The Phoenix will host 30 games this season at its home fifth-year facility, Hunt Softball Park. Elon opens the 2017 campaign with a three-game series versus Hampton the weekend of Feb. 10-11. The following week, Elon welcomes North Carolina Central (Feb. 18) and ACC foe Virginia (Feb. 19) for a couple of twin bills. The maroon and gold then brings in Campbell for an early-week contest on Feb. 21.
Elon takes part in the first of its two home tournaments this season on March 3-5. The Phoenix welcomes the field of St. Joseph’s, Wagner and Iona to Hunt Softball Park. Following that tournament, the maroon and gold greets its second ACC competitor Pittsburgh on March 7, for its first-ever meeting versus the Panthers.
Fairleigh Dickinson, Presbyterian and Norfolk State come in for the Phoenix’s second home tournament on March 10-12. The Phoenix then host in-state foes NC State (April 12), UNCG (April 19) and North Carolina A&T (April 25) to wrap up its home non-conference schedule.
“We’re thrilled to be facing top quality competition at home this season,” said Bocock. “It’s exciting to be add Virginia and Pitt to our home schedule from the ACC along with NC State. I feel like we have one of the best softball facilities in the country and our players always enjoy playing at home. It’s also a great opportunity for fans to come out and see what Elon softball has to offer against some really great teams.”
A total of 26 games at road or neutral sites await the Phoenix with Elon visiting NCAA Regional participant North Carolina for its first away contest on Feb. 15. Following its matchup with the Tar Heels, the Phoenix travels to Florida for the Citrus Classic (Feb. 24-26) for the third straight season. Elon will play five games in the Sunshine State, opening versus former conference foe Georgia Southern prior to facing Florida and Fordham, who both reached the NCAA Tournament last season. The Phoenix will also play in an exhibition versus the Czech Republic National Team before concluding the tournament versus Syracuse.
“I’m really excited about heading back to the Citrus Classic,” said Bocock. “We try to always get in a big tournament at the start of the season in hopes to building our team. We are excited to face Florida again after a very close game last year. Fordham is also another really good team that has been to the NCAA Tournament along with Georgia Southern. Syracuse is another ACC program that will be a great opponent, and to top it off we’re playing a national team from the Czech Republic. The competition level at this tournament is just going to be off the charts.”
Elon begins a stretch of eight straight non-conference games on the road at in-state foe Charlotte on March 15. The Phoenix will play a weekend series at I-40 and triad rival UNCG on March 17-18 before heading to East Carolina for a single game on March 22. Elon returns to Greensboro for a single game at North Carolina A&T to close out the month on March 29. The Phoenix concludes its nonconference road slate at Virginia Tech for a doubleheader on April 5.
“Our non-conference schedule is very strong again this year,” said Bocock. “We have ACC schools that are nearby that we can go play as well as some really competitive schools in North Carolina that are very close. I think facing the different mix of teams during our non-conference schedule will help us when we start CAA play.”
The Phoenix begins its quest to reach the postseason for the CAA Softball Championship for the third straight season as Elon opens league play at College of Charleston on March 25-26. The maroon and gold hosts its first CAA series versus UNCW on April 1-2.
Elon heads to Drexel for a three-game set on April 8-9, before hosting Towson the following weekend (April 15-16). After a road series at Hofstra on April 22-23, Elon concludes the regular season home portion of its schedule with a series against Delaware on April 29-30.
The Phoenix closes out the regular season at defending league champion James Madison on May 5-6. Last season, the Phoenix handed the then sixth-ranked Dukes its first loss in regular season league play since 2013 and its highest win ever against a ranked opponent with a 5-4, 15-inning victory in Elon.
The CAA Softball Championship will be held at JMU’s Veteran’s Memorial Stadium on May 9-12. The championship will include pool play for the top five teams from the regular season.
“I believe the CAA is among one of the best softball conferences in the country,” said Bocock. “I’m just impressed by the strength of this league from top to bottom. Last season, there were more than five teams who were worthy of making the postseason tournament. It’s that high level of competition that makes it fun every weekend to play in this conference. Every game is important.”