FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Co-Head Coaches Elizabeth Luckie and Pam London and the Sacred Heart University softball team announced its 2018 schedule Wednesday afternoon. This year's group looks to up last season's 23-28 record and Northeast Conference tournament clip, 1-2. The Pioneers have 54 games on their slate with 16 as NEC clashes and 16 to be played in front of a SHU crowd.
London began. "We are so looking forward to getting started on our spring schedule! We open our season in Tennessee against very good competition-so we will be tested right out of the gym."
For its season launch, SHU heads to the Volunteer State for the Chattanooga Challenge hosted by The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga beginning February 16. There, the Pioneers get a chance at Indiana State and Tennessee State on Friday prior to Saturday's matchup with Tennessee Tech and Chattanooga. Sunday marks the final day of play with SHU closing out competition against Alabama A&M.
In the month of March, softball will participate in a trio of tournaments starting with Winthrop University's Winthrop Tournament on March 2. Friday will see the Pioneers battle Norfolk State and the host. The Pioneers turn around and clash with Albany and Western Kentucky before Sunday's fight with Morehead State.
Two days after play ends in Winthrop, SHU will stay in The Palmetto State for a doubleheader with Furman University, Tuesday, March 6. The action is slated for a 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. start.
London continued. "We will do a run through North Carolina for spring break. We will face some very worthy opponents on that trip for sure! Finally, we will make our familiar trip to UMBC in Maryland for our final tourney before we open up our northern game segment."
The Pioneers head slightly north for the UNC-Wilmington Tournament hosted by UNC-Wilmington. The Seahawks host SHU on Friday, March 9 before the Pioneers try Youngstown State. Saturday and Sunday's play involves North Carolina A&T at 5:30 p.m. and 12:30 p.m., respectively.
The Hampton Inn BWI UMBC Dawg Pound Invitational will feature SHU matched up with La Salle, UMBC, Drexel and Saint Peter's over the course of the March 16-18 weekend.
London stated. "Having eight freshmen makes these trips very important for not only experience but for cultivating our team chemistry. These trips allow our girls to build on their friendships, their self-confidence, and their trust in each other. Our goal is to grow and learn from every game so we can get 1% percent better every day!
SHU graces Pioneer Park for the first time this season on Saturday, March 24 in doubleheader fashion with UMass Lowell.
Manhattan hosts the Pioneers in a midweek clash March 28 prior to the Pioneers' Northeast Conference opener against intrastate rival Central Connecticut State that Friday.
"The parity in our league has never been greater than it is now. Anyone of the nine teams in our league can go into our playoffs and win! We want to be firing on all cylinders when we open up our league play at the very end of March."
Wagner will serve as the second NEC opponent in two days when they play host to SHU March 31.
April opens with a visit to Iona set for Wednesday the 4th. The following day, SHU returns home to welcome Quinnipiac for a solo meeting slated for 3:30 p.m.
London added. "We are extremely pumped to have eight home conference games that at any point can swing momentum one way or another."
The Quinnipiac match is succeeded by six NEC matchups (three opponents) of the nine following contests. April 7, the Pioneers hit the road for Mount St. Mary's, before traveling to New York for a battle at Stony Brook on the 8th. Thursday, April 12, SHU looks to take down local foe Fairfield in a standalone meeting at Pioneer Park. Bryant (4/14) and Robert Morris (4/15) will also travel to Connecticut for chances at the Pioneers.
The Yale matchup will wrap up a six-game home-stand on Wednesday, April 18. The Pioneers play guest at Maine on April 21 before hosting Fairleigh Dickinson the following Sunday.
Fairfield gets another attempt at the Pioneers on Thursday, April 24 on its turf.
London mentioned. "The final two home conference games are against the St Francis U, last year's NEC champion which will be intense for sure!"
Siena (4/26) and Saint Francis U (4/28) will compete against SHU in front of a Pioneer crowd before LIU Brooklyn opens its gates to SHU on April 29.
Quinnipiac closes SHU's regular season on May 1.
London ended. "Our staff feels really good about the people and players that are a part of our program! They care about each other like a family cares for one another. I have no doubt they will give 100% of everything they have to achieve their shared goals and proudly represent Sacred Heart University!"