Sept. 28, 2007
Orlando, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - UCF softball head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie announced the Knights' 2008 schedule on Thursday, with the challenging slate featuring contests against eight teams that played in the NCAA tournament a year ago. This season's schedule also boasts 32 home contests, including two tournaments at the UCF Softball Complex and a trip to Honolulu for the Hawaii Paradise Classic.
"The strength of our home schedule this season will put us in a great position to win the Conference USA Championship," Luers-Gillispie said. "Having our own facility has really put us at an advantage to get the top teams in the nation to travel to Orlando. The combination of a tough non-conference schedule and the consistent competitiveness of Conference USA will only help us raise our RPI from where we finished in 2007."
The Black and Gold opens the season at home, hosting the UCF Tournament Feb. 8-10, where it takes on NC State on Feb. 9. The Wolfpack ranked as high as No. 23 on the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll in 2007. The tournament field also includes Illinois State, Missouri-Kansas City, Central Arkansas and Kansas.
The Knights are set to spend their spring break in Honolulu, Hawaii, Feb. 14-17, facing host Hawaii on Feb. 15. Hawaii finished the 2007 season ranked No. 12 in the final coach's poll. UCF also faces Long Beach State and Kentucky before entering bracket play.
The Knights return to the UCF Softball Complex to host their second tournament of the season, with Drake, George Mason, Birmingham-Southern, Auburn and Michigan all scheduled to play. UCF will square-off against NCAA Regional Champion Michigan in the tournament Feb. 23 and welcome the Wolverines back to Orlando for a Feb. 27 match-up.
The Altamonte Springs Tournament Feb. 29-March 2, concludes the Knights' February schedule. Luers-Gillispie's squad has the chance to play Villanova, Alabama State, Maryland and Florida A&M while participating in the event.
UCF makes its 2008 Conference USA debut at home against East Carolina March 8-9 in a three-game series. The Knights will also host league series against Tulsa (March 21-22), Houston (April 5-6) and Memphis (April 19-20), while playing road series versus UAB (March 15-16), Marshall (March 29-30), UTEP (April 12-13) and Southern Miss (May 3-4).
The Black and Gold face non-conference competition throughout the entire season, playing back-to-back doubleheaders against Sam Houston March 11 and Liberty and Baylor March 12. Baylor finished last season ranked No. 5 and lost to eventual National Champion Arizona in the 2007 NCAA Super Regional.
The Knights play Jacksonville (March 19, April 2), Stetson (Feb. 20, April 27) and Bethune-Cookman (Feb. 21, April 8) in home-and-home games, while Iowa (March 20) and in-state rival Florida State (April 9) also travel to Orlando in non-conference action. On the road, UCF goes head-to-head with NCAA Regional Champion Florida on March 6 before traveling to FAU on March 25 and FIU on March 26.
The 2008 C-USA Softball Championship will be held in Houston, Texas, May 8-10, with the winner receiving the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
"Not only am I very excited about the schedule we have put together this season, but I am also excited about the group of young ladies that will be playing it," Luers-Gillispie said. "Every girl on our team has the same goal in mind, and that is to win the C-USA Championship. I definitely think our schedule will help them reach that goal."
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