Softball releases 2013 schedule
JU starts the season in Tallahassee on Feb. 9.
JU starts the season in Tallahassee on Feb. 9.
The Jacksonville University softball team will start its battle for another A-Sun Championship Feb. 9 as the Dolphins release their 2013 schedule.

The Dolphins will play three 2012 NCAA Tournament participants in the first five games inside of four tournaments to get ready for the conference schedule.

“We have a good balance to our schedule this year,” JU head coach Ali Higgs said. “Opening up at Florida State's tournament and then having Florida at home will be a good test for our team early on. We are hosting two very competitive tournaments in February and will see some tough competition at the FAU tournament, which should set us up well as we head in to conference play. I am excited to see how our team responds to the challenges in our schedule and look forward to a great season.”

JU plays regional participants Bethune-Cookman and Florida State and Florida A&M at the first tournament in Tallahassee on Feb. 9-10.

The Dolphins open the JU Softball Complex schedule three days later with a single contest against Florida Feb. 13 at 6 p.m. It’s the third time JU has hosted the Gators at home since 2009.

Following the Gators’ matchup, JU begins the first of two home tournaments Feb. 15 against Stony Brook, Ohio State, Louisville and Bethune-Cookman. The Dolphins play South Alabama, Seton Hall, Delaware and Mount St. Marys in the other home tournament from Feb. 22-24.

The Dolphins wrap the preseason tournament slate at the Florida Atlantic Tournament (March 1-3) against host the Owls, Harvard, Eastern Michigan, Michigan State and Ball State.

Other non-conference games include road trips to Florida A&M (Feb. 20), Georgia Southern (March 6) and Bethune-Cookman (April 3). JU plays Cornell (March 20) and Elon (March 26) in doubleheaders at the JU Softball Complex.

The A-Sun schedule has a slight twist this season with each team playing a three-game series (a doubleheader and a single game) over a two-day period beginning in March.

The Dolphins start their conference slate with a home series against Lipscomb on March 9-10. After heading to East Tennessee State (March 16-17), they will host USC Upstate (March 22-23) inside of spring break.

JU will play four of the next five A-Sun series on the road against Mercer (March 29-30), Northern Kentucky (April 6-7), Florida Gulf Coast (April 13-14) and Kennesaw State (April 20-21).

The Dolphins finish the schedule against home against in-state rivals Stetson (April 10, 24) and North Florida (April 27-28).

The A-Sun Tournament will take place this season in Nashville beginning May 8.

JU returns 11 players from the 2012 squad that hit the 30-win plateau (31) for the third straight season. Juniors Karson Tuck and Codi Kelly and sophomore Ashley Simon each return following all-conference campaigns last year.