ELON, S.C. – The Elon University softball team is scheduled to kick off its 2020 campaign on Friday, Feb. 7, facing Longwood at 2:30 p.m. to open its home tournament, the Elon Softball Classic, at Hunt Softball Park.
• The maroon and gold is slated to play four games in the three-day tournament against the field of Longwood, Rhode Island and Seton Hall.
• The Phoenix and the Lancers open the tournament on Friday in the first of two matchups between the programs on the weekend. Elon then squares off against Rhode Island on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 2 p.m. before playing Seton Hall in its nightcap at 4:15 p.m.
• Elon and Longwood closes out the tournament with its rematch on Sunday, Feb. 9, at 2 p.m. For the full schedule of the tournament, head to the Phoenix’s schedule page at elonphoenix.com.
Follow the Phoenix
• Live stats will be available for every game at the tournament.
• Elon’s contests versus Longwood on Friday and on Sunday will be streamed on Elon Sports Vision.
• Updates of the Phoenix’s games will also be posted on Twitter at the team’s account @ElonSoftball.
Look Back at 2019
• The maroon and gold is coming off a 33-20-1 ledger in 2019, posting its third 30-win campaign in the last five seasons. The Phoenix earned a pair of wins versus top-20 opponents including victories at No. 8 Georgia and at fellow Colonial Athletic Association foe No. 19 James Madison.
• Elon also posted its best-ever mark in the CAA, going 13-7 during league play and finishing second in the regular-season standings. The Phoenix won six out of its seven league series on the year and handed James Madison its lone league loss from a season ago.
• The Phoenix reached the CAA Tournament for the first time since 2016, defeating Towson and Drexel en route to its first-ever trip the league’s championship game where Elon would fall to host James Madison.
CAA 2020 Preseason Poll
• Elon was predicted to finish second overall in the 2020 Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Coaches’ Poll as announced by the league office on Tuesday, Feb. 4.
• Defending league champion James Madison was chosen first by the league’s head coaches with 49 points and seven first-place votes. Elon came in second with 40 points and one first-place vote, while Charleston (29), Drexel (28) and Towson (25) joined the Phoenix in the top five. Hofstra (22), UNCW (19) and Delaware (12) rounded out the remaining positions in the poll.
It’s Bo Time
• Elon head coach Kathy Bocock returns for her ninth season at the helm of the Phoenix softball program. In her time as the head coach with the Phoenix, Bocock has amassed 215 wins, becoming the third coach in school history with 200 or more wins with the program.
• Bocock also had some changes to her staff from last season. Mallory Borden was elevated to associate head coach after serving as an assistant coach for the past two season.
• Cassie Vondrak joins the Phoenix as an assistant coach and will serve as the pitching coach. Vondrak arrives after spending the previous five seasons as an assistant coach at Columbia University.
• The Phoenix returns 10 letterwinners from a season ago in seniors Kenna Quinn and Morgan Reich, junior Ally Repko and sophomores Lauryn Clarke, Allie Eith, Katie Hoover, Keagan Goldwait, Sydney Ingle, Rebecca Murray and Megan White.
• Among the notable returners includes White, who was the 2019 CAA Co-Rookie of the Year after leading the maroon and gold in batting average (.320), home runs (10) and RBI (29). She was also selected to the CAA All-Rookie Team and All-Tournament Team.
• Repko also returns after finishing second to White on the team in home runs (eight) and was tied for the team-lead with 14 doubles. She also led the CAA and finished 13th in the nation in walks per game at 0.81 and also was a member of the CAA All-Tournament Team.
• Elon welcomes eight newcomers into the fold for 2020 including six first-year players in Carley Davis, Bella Devesa, Megan Grant, Kaitlin King, Drew Menscer and Claudia Penny.
• The Phoenix also added two transfers the the roster in sophomore Raelyn McGarry (Seton Hill) and graduate student Alexa Nemeth (William Peace).
• vs. Longwood – The Phoenix and the Lancers are knotted at 12-12 all-time in the series between the two squads. Elon defeated Longwood last season at home, 5-2, snapping a nine-game losing streak against the Lancers.
• vs. Rhode Island – The Rams hold a 2-1 advantage over the maroon and gold in the brief series. The Phoenix took a 6-2 victory over Rhode Island the last time both programs met on the diamond in 2018.
• vs. Seton Hall – The Pirates lead Elon in the series, 3-2, as both teams will meet for the first time since 2011. The Phoenix has won the previous two games in the matchup including a 8-4 victory in the most recent contest.
• The Lancers went 37-22 in 2019 and was 20-4 in the Big South winning the league’s tournament title and reaching the NCAA Regional round.
• Longwood was tabbed as the favorites to win the Big South in the conference’s 2020 preseason poll. It marks the fifth consecutive year that the Big South coaches have selected the Lancers to win the league.
• Junior Sydney Backstrom returns to the circle after being chosen as the 2020 Big South Pitcher of the Year. Backstrom finished her sophomore season leading the Lancers in innings pitched, complete games, and wins, earning her a spot on the 2019 Big South first-team and runner-up Big South Pitcher of the Year.
Scouting Rhode Island
• The Rams went 17-29 last year and posted a 6-14 ledger in Atlantic-10 Conference. Rhode Island begins its fifth season with head coach Bridget Hurlman leading the program.
• Rhode Island was selected eighth in the A-10 2020 Preseason Poll. Among some of the top performers from last season include sophomore Ari Castillo, who was selected A-10 Second Team All-Conference and to the All-Rookie Team. Among Atlantic 10 players, Castillo was fifth in batting average (.392) and slugging percentage (.657), sixth in home runs (eight), eighth in doubles (12) and eight in on-base percentage (.456).
• Another sophomore, Sami Villarreal, joined Castillo on the A-10 All-Rookie Team. Villarreal batted .385 with 24 hits, eight doubles and two home runs.
Scouting Seton Hall
• The Pirates went 24-24 last season and posted a 10-9 mark in the BIG EAST. This season, Seton Hall was predicted to finish fifth overall in the BIG EAST 2020 Preseason Poll.
• Seton Hall had four members of its team earn All-BIG EAST honors last season headlined by senior Hailey Arteaga, who received a spot on the first team. Arteagan led the Pirates with a .408 batting average and 62 hits.
• Janae Barracato, Reganne Camp and Darby Pandolfo joined Arteaga as All-BIG EAST honorees last season with the trio being named to the second team.
• Following its home tournament this weekend, the Phoenix hosts North Carolina A&T next Wednesday, Feb. 12, for a single game at Hunt Softball Park. That contest is scheduled for a 4 p.m. opening pitch.