Oct. 15, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame softball head coach Deanna Gumpf recently announced her team’s 2009 schedule which includes contests with four Women’s College World Series squads from 2008 including reigning national champion Arizona State.
“Year after year we want to play the best teams in the nation, and this schedule shows that we’re ready to do so yet again in 2009,” Gumpf said. “Not only will we play some of the other top programs across the nation but we have the opportunity to face the best teams in this region as well.”
Starting the season at the Bama Bash Feb. 13-15 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Notre Dame will join Alabama, East Carolina and Wisconsin in the field. One week later (Feb. 20-21) the Irish head to Stanford’s Nike Invitational along with Sacramento State and Western Kentucky.
North Carolina State welcomes Notre Dame from Feb.29-March 1 for the Wolfpack Challenge. Rounding out the field with the Irish will be College of Charleston, Canisius and Buffalo.
The second of Notre Dame’s westward-bound trips comes March 7 at the UNLV Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev. The Irish face the host Rebels and Texas Tech on the opening day of play with UC Santa Barbara and Texas waiting on March 8.
A single contest at UCLA (March 10) will serve as a tune-up for the prestigious Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif. The stacked field including Penn State, Oklahoma, Pacific, Arizona and Arizona State will each get a shot at the Irish from March 12-14.
Opening the home portion of the schedule with four straight dates at Melissa Cook Stadium, Notre Dame will first challenge Toledo in a March 18 twinbill. BIG EAST Conference play begins with a visit from St. John’s (March 22) with non-conference foes Ball State (March 24) and Western Michigan (March 25) coming to town soon after.
Trips to first-year league member Georgetown (March 28) sets the stage for a flight to USF (March 29). Consecutive home doubleheaders with Pittsburgh (April 4), Seton Hall (April 5) and DePaul (April 8) along with a home match with Valparaiso (April 9) precede the longest road swing of the regular season. Notre Dame flies to Connecticut (April 11), visits Wisconsin (April 14) and then double-dips at Villanova (April 18) and Rutgers (April 19). The final road trip will be an April 30 matchup at Providence.
Northwestern (April 21) and North Dakota State (April 22) are set to come to town on consecutive dates with Notre Dame’s Senior Day scheduled for May 3 when the Irish face Louisville.
The 2008 BIG EAST Championship will be held at Louisville’s Ulmer Stadium May 7-9. NCAA Tournament play starts on campus sites May 14 and concludes with the WCWS in Oklahoma City, Okla., May 29-June 9.
Alabama, East Carolina, Sacramento State, Stanford, Canisius, Texas, UCLA, Oklahoma, Arizona, Arizona State, USF, DePaul, Northwestern and Louisville each earned invitations to last year’s NCAA Tournament. Alabama, UCLA, Arizona and Arizona state were WCWS participants.
The Irish finished the 2008 campaign with a 38-22-1 record and an appearance in the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional. The team welcomes four newcomers and returns 14 monogram winners, including six all-BIG EAST performers and NFCA all-region pitcher Brittney Bargar.