EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Set for his first season at the helm of the University of Evansville softball program, head coach Mat Mundell has announced the schedule for the 2015 campaign.?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /
"We are excited to announce the 2015 schedule. The schedule will challenge our team early with some nationally ranked opponents," Mundell said. "This tough start to the season will prepare our team for the always competitive Missouri Valley Conference."
Five tournaments mark the beginning of the season as the Purple Aces make three trips to the state of Alabama. The season starts a week earlier than usual with a trip to the Plainsman Invite hosted by Auburn University. The Tigers made the NCAA Tournament in 2014 and host an event that also features George Washington, Chattanooga, UAB and Appalachian State. UAB has been to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last five seasons.
A trip to the Mardi Gras Invitational will take place over Valentine's Day weekend. South Alabama will host the tournament as the Aces will also take on Butler, Lipscomb and Oklahoma State. The swing through Alabama continues from Feb. 20-22 as UE heads to Troy, Ala. For the Firehouse Invite. Northern Illinois, the University of Connecticut and Troy will be the opponents.
Next up is a trek to Macon, Ga. for the Black & Orange Challenge at Mercer University. Aside from Mercer, the Aces will take on Buffalo, Kennesaw State and two opponents that will be determined. Tournament play wraps up the next week (March 6-8) at the Mizuno Classic in Stillwater, Okla. Oklahoma State is the host as UE will take on the Cowgirls, UMKC, Connecticut and two more opponents.
The home opener is set for March 14 in the first Missouri Valley Conference outing of the season against Loyola. It is a doubleheader with the final game set for the 15th. Other home conference weekends include 3/28-29 against Illinois State, April 14 vs. Southern Illinois and 4/18-19 against UNI. Defending MVC champion Bradley completes the home slate on May 2-3 for three games at Cooper Stadium.
Also in the mix is a midweek home doubleheader versus Murray State set for 3 p.m. on April 21.
Road league series begin on March 21 as the Aces travel to Des Moines to face Drake. The squad opens the month of April with a trip to Missouri State on the 3rd and 4th and is back on the road the next weekend to face Indiana State.
April 22 will see UE head to Carbondale for a single game at SIU before completing the road schedule on the 25th and 26th of the month at Wichita State.