UCF Softball Opens 2010 Season at NTC Elite Invitational

Feb. 11, 2010

NTC Elite Invitational Game Notes | Video Preview

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - After five weeks of grueling conditioning and practice, the UCF softball team opens its 2010 campaign Friday at its toughest tournament in program history, the NTC Elite Invitational. The event, hosted by Olympic Gold medalist Dot Richardson at the National Training Center in nearby Clermont, pits the Knights against four-straight opponents ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Top-25 Preseason Poll.

The Black and Gold kicks off the season Friday with a 5 p.m. contest against No. 11 Oklahoma, before challenging perennial softball powerhouse No. 8 UCLA in the nightcap at 7 p.m. The game against the Bruins will be aired on tape delay regionally on Bright House Sports Network channel 47 for digital cable subscribers on Feb. 13 at 12 p.m., before airing again on Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. and Feb. 17 at 3:30 p.m. Richardson will be the play-by-play announcer for the contest, while Jennie Ritter will serve as the color analyst.

Saturday's schedule is just as challenging for UCF, as the squad battles No. 16 Tennessee at 5 p.m. to open the day and concludes the day with a match-up against No. 7 Georgia at 7 p.m. The Knights close out the tournament Sunday with a 1 p.m. showdown with Chattanooga.

? Schedule
Friday, Feb. 12
- 5 p.m. vs. No. 11 Oklahoma | Radio |
- 7 p.m. vs. No. 8 UCLA | BHSN | Radio |
Saturday, Feb. 13
- 5 p.m. vs. No. 16 Tennessee | Radio |
- 7 p.m. vs. No. 7 Georgia | Radio |
Sunday, Feb. 14
- 1 p.m. vs. Chattanooga | Radio |

? Ticket Information
Discount - Order Online
Event Pass
- $20 in advance
- $25 at the gate
Single Day
- $10
Children 6-12
- Event Pass - $10
- Single Day - $5
Children 5-under
- Free

? Directions
from UCF

? Series Records
First meeting vs. Oklahoma
0-1 vs. UCLA
1-2 vs. Tennessee
First meeting vs. Georgia
First meeting vs. Chattanooga

Head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie opens her ninth season at the helm of the Knights at the NTC Elite Invitational. The skipper holds a 305-210-1 overall record as UCF's head coach, which includes 27 wins from 2009.

The Knights are 4-4 all-time in season openers since the program's inception on in 2002. The Knights are 4-4 in tournament season-openers and are 3-2 when opening the season on the road.

UCF returns 10 letterwinners, including seven starting position players and three pitchers, to the squad in 2010. The Black and Gold also welcomes in seven newcomers to the roster for the campaign.

Senior Hillary Barrow (Miami, Fla.) enters her final campaign with the Knights with a 187-game starting streak. The third baseman has started every game for the Black and Gold since 2007, when she played second base for the squad as a rookie. With almost 200 starts under her belt, Barrow currently ranks in a tie for eighth on the UCF career record chart and needs 13 more starts to overtake the No. 7 spot.

After tying for the national lead with eight triples during the 2009 season, Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) enters 2010 only five triples short of the C-USA all-time record. Lane, who already holds the UCF career record for three-baggers, tallied seven triples as a freshman before claiming a share of the NCAA Statistical Champion honors with eight triples as a sophomore.

As the reigning 2009 NCAA Statistical Champion for double plays turned, UCF's infield is looking for a repeat title in 2010. The Knights return all but one infielder from last season when they averaged 0.59 double plays per game.

The Sooners open the 2010 season ranked No. 10 in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Preseason Poll, as it returns 12 letterwinners, including the 2009 Big 12 Player of the Year and six All-Big 12 selections, to the diamond. The squad finished last season with a 41-16 overall record and claimed the Big 12 title, while also advancing to the NCAA Regional semifinals.

A perennial national softball powerhouse, UCLA begins its season with a No. 6 ranking in the NFCA poll after concluding 2009 with a 45-11 overall record and its ninth Pac-10 Conference title, while also advancing to the NCAA Super Regional finals. The Bruins return 16 letterwinners, eight starters and its entire pitching staff from last season, including four All-West Region selections and NFCA All-America First Team honorees, Megan Langenfeld (P/1B) and Katie Schroeder (OF).

The Lady Vols enter the NTC Elite Invitational on the heels of an impressive 2009 campaign in which they posted a 40-18-1 overall record, finished second in the NCAA Knoxville Regional and put together a third-place showing in the SEC Eastern Division with a 12-12-1 clip. Despite losing seven letterwinners from last year's squad, Tennessee returns three NFCA All-South Region picks as well as NFCA All-America Second Team selection Tiffany Huff.

Following its first appearance in the Women's College World Series in 2009, Georgia opens its season at the NTC Elite Invitational with 11 returning letterwinners on its roster, including All-Americans Alisa Goler and Taylor Schlopy. The pair helped its young squad post a 47-12 overall record last season, which included an 18-7 SEC clip, good for second in the Eastern Division and for third overall. In 2009, the Bulldogs were the nation's youngest team with 90-percent underclassman and have no seniors heading into 2010.

Coming off its second-consecutive NCAA Regional appearance and claiming the SoCon's regular season and tournament crowns, Chattanooga travels to Florida with nine returning starters from 2009. The Mocs also welcome the healthy return of two-time SoCon Pitcher of the Year Brooke Loudermilk, who missed half of last season with an injury.

Season tickets for the 2010 season are only $40 and are on sale now, while single-game tickets are also available for purchase. Tickets can be purchased online at UCFAthletics.com or through the Athletics Ticket Office by calling (407) 823-1000.

For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.