Junior All-American Karley Wester is Notre Dame's returning leader in batting average, hits, stolen bases, and runs scored as the Irish approach 2016

Elite Slate Awaits Irish Softball As 2016 Season Approaches

Nov. 2, 2015

by Tony Jones

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— As has become commonplace with the University of Notre Dame softball team, one can expect to see the nation’s best teams adorning the Irish schedule from year-to-year. The 2016 season will be no exception as 14 teams that reached NCAA Regionals in 2015, including four Super Regional participants and one Women’s College World Series qualifier, await Notre Dame on its upcoming slate.

Notre Dame officially released the 2016 regular season schedule on Monday, which features 21 home games at Melissa Cook Stadium. The Irish are set to play a total of 54 regular season contests spread over seven states, notably Arizona, California, Florida, Virginia, New York, and North Carolina.

Here are five things you need to know about the 2016 Notre Dame softball schedule:

The Irish, 2015 NCAA Regional Qualifiers, And The 2016 Schedule

Notre Dame compiled an 11-9 (.550) record against 2016 opponents that qualified for last season’s NCAA Championship. Highlights of those games included a win over Utah (3-1) and the program’s first victory all-time against UCLA (8-4) on Feb. 6, 2015, a no-hit shutout at Florida State (March 15), a pair of three-game Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) sweeps of Virginia Tech (March 28-29) and Pittsburgh (April 3-4), and an NCAA South Bend Regional elimination game victory over Ball State (15-4 on May 16) at Melissa Cook Stadium.

The Irish last played Louisville (W, 6-3 and 11-4) on Feb. 15-16, BYU (W, 6-0, Feb. 20), California (L, 3-5 on Feb. 22), and Central Florida (L, 0-3) on March 13 of the 2014 season. Notre Dame most recently met Washington (L, 2-5) on Feb. 15 of the 2013 campaign.

Road Warriors For The Opening Month

A total of 24 games at road or neutral sites await Notre Dame from when the new season opens on Feb. 12 until March 13 of 2016. The Irish visit the Kajikawa Classic (Feb. 12-14) in Tempe, Arizona, the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic (Feb. 19-21) in Cathedral City, California, the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic (Feb. 26-28) in Kissimmee, Florida, the Florida Gulf Coast Round Robin (March 5-6) in Fort Myers, Florida, and Florida International (March 9) in Miami, Florida, before finally opening ACC play at Virginia (March 12-13) in Charlottesville, Virginia over the season’s first month.

March-April Homestand The Longest Of 2016

A season-long nine-game homestand at Melissa Cook Stadium will give fans ample time to catch the Irish on campus during late March/early April. Notre Dame faces IPFW (March 30) before opening April with a three-game ACC series against Florida State (April 2-3), midweek matchups with IUPUI (April 5) and DePaul (April 7), and an ACC set with Pittsburgh (April 9-10), inside the friendly confines of Melissa Cook Stadium.

Welcome To The Irish Schedule

Four of Notre Dame’s 2016 opponents are set to take on the Irish for the first time in varsity competition. Utah Valley (Feb. 19), Bryant (Feb. 27), Florida Gulf Coast (March 5), and Stony Brook (March 5-6) will enter the Irish record book in 2016. Notre Dame has defeated 193 different opponents during its 27-year history, compiling a cumulative 1,103-481-3 (.696) all-time record.

Plethora Of Veteran Experience Back On The Field

Notre Dame returns 13 monogram winners from its 2015 squad that made its 17th consecutive appearance (20th all-time) in the NCAA Championship, hosting an NCAA Regional for just the second time in program history (2005). The Irish capped 2015 with a 42-15 (.737) mark, establishing single-season program records for hits (543), runs (395), and on-base percentage (.419), while batting above a .350 clip (.351) for the second straight season.

Notre Dame also earned eight victories over fellow national top 25 foes, and enjoyed a 24-game winning streak from March through the end of April that was the second longest in the nation during the year. The Irish tied their 2014 team total of seven NFCA Mid-Atlantic all-region honorees, with Micaela Arizmendi and Karley Wester returning as first team performers and Morgan Reed back as a third team representative from last season.

For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, visit www.und.com/softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter and at Instagram.com/notredamesoftball, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.


Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.