DePaul will take on three ranked opponents including UCLA, Nebraska and Cal in Las Vegas this weekend
Complete DePaul Tournament Notes
The No. 12 DePaul Blue Demon Softball team will jump start its 2004 season in Las Vegas, Nevada, competing at the UNLV Classic. A season and a team that Head Coach Eugene Lenti promises will be “full of surprises,” puts on its cleats to face off against some of the nations top teams, 2003 College World Series Champions and No. 1 UCLA, No. 3 Cal, No. 8 Nebraska, No. 36 Hawaii and unranked Utah this weekend.
The tournament features round robin competition between 15 teams, each team facing off against five different opponents. Tournament games will take place both at UNLV’s on-campus facility (Eller Media Stadium) and at Stephanie Lynn Craig Park in Henderson, NV; however DePaul will play all of its games at Stephanie Lynn Craig Park.
DePaul will open the classic on Friday, February 13th, against two teams that it defeated during the 2003 season, No. 8 Nebraska at 6:30 p.m. (CST) followed by No. 1 UCLA at 8:30 p.m. (CST). The competition does not get easier on Saturday, when the Blue Demons will look to avenge a NCAA Regional loss to No. 3 California at 6:00 p.m.(CST) and unranked Utah at 8:30 p.m (CST). The tournament comes to a close on Sunday with the Blue Demons facing No. 36 Hawaii at 2:30 p.m (CST).
DePaul is coming off a 47-8-1 season (2003) and is poised to repeat Conference USA regular season and Tournament championships, and return to the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Demons return six starters, including two All-American’s, senior Sarah Martz and junior Saskia Roberson. The team welcomes nine newcomers.
Dugouts Across the Baseline
No. 8 Nebraska (6:30 p.m. Friday, February 13th)
In last seasons only meeting, the Blue Demons dominated the Huskers 7-2. Nebraska, just like DePaul will step onto the dirt for the first time this season. Neither team has had outside practice due to cold weather. The Huskers finished the 2003 season with a 39-17 record. They return twelve players from last year's team, including five starters and top pitchers Peaches James and Summer Tobias. DePaul has shutout the Huskers defeating them each of their five meetings.
No. 1 UCLA (8:30 p.m. Friday, February 13th)
The Blue Demons will look to repeat last season’s 1-0 victory over the No. 1 Bruins. The 2003 College World Series Champions UCLA Bruins are 4-0 this season. They come to Las Vegas after capturing first place honors at the Long Beach State Softball Tournament. The Bruins are lead by seniors Keira Goerl and Clair Sua and sophomores Caitlin Benyi and Emily Zaplatosch. UCLA holds a 6-1 advantage in the series against DePaul.
No. 3 Cal (6:00 p.m. Saturday, February 14th)
DePaul was left with a sour taste in their mouths last season when the Golden Bears defeated the No. 1 seeded Blue Demons 1-0 at the NCAA regional in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Cal has rolled to a 6-0 start this season and owns a 3-1 series edge over DePaul.
Utah (8:30 p.m. Saturday, February 14th)
This will be the first meeting between the Blue Demons and the Utes in six years. The first and last time these two teams met was at the NCAA Regionals in Iowa City, Iowa. The Blue Demons defeated the Utes 2-0. Utah brings a 3-1 record to Las Vegas. They finished the 2003 season with a 20-27 record. They return six starters and welcome four newcomers
No. 36 Hawaii (2:30 p.m. Sunday, February 15th)
Hawaii comes to the mainland carrying a 3-3 record after playing in the Hawaii Paradise Classic. Hawaii is the defending WAC champions and return both the leagues MVP, Stacey Porter, and pitcher of the year Melissa Coogan. This will be the second meeting for Hawaii and the Blue Demons. Hawaii holds the series advantage at 1-0.