THURSDAY, MARCH 01, 2007
Softball hosts national powerhouses at Crispers/JU Invitational starting Friday
Click here to view the full Crispers/JU Invitational schedule

March 1, 2007

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The road to the Women's College World Series may go through the city of Jacksonville this weekend when the Jacksonville University softball team hosts the Crispers/JU Invitational starting on Friday.

Collegiate softball powerhouses Michigan, Notre Dame and Virginia will make its way to the JU Softball Complex for the Dolphins' showcase of talent in their short five-year history.

In the last two seasons, the trio of programs has combined for four conference championships, four NCAA tournament appearances, two NCAA Super Regional berths and one National Championship.

"Our kids have been waiting for this weekend all year," said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. "We are not only hosting this tournament for the challenge, but also to show all our kids what we are trying to build here at JU. I want our program to have the tradition and excellence like the teams we are facing this weekend."

2005 National Champion and two-time defending Big Ten title winner Michigan (16-1) highlights the weekend ranked ninth in the polls, which is the second-highest ranking for a Dolphin opponent in program history. The highest ranked opponent was No. 4 Stanford in 2005 at the USF Wilson Tournament. The Dolphins were up on the Cardinals, 1-0, with less than six outs to play, but ending up losing on a two-run single.

2006 Big East champion and NCAA tournament participant Notre Dame faces JU for the second time in school history this weekend. The Fighting Irish (4-6) held off a late JU rally in 2003 to earn a 2-1 win and hand the Dolphins their first-ever loss to a ranked opponent.

Virginia rounds out the rest of the field for this weekend. The Cavaliers are coached by second-year head coach Karen Johns, who was a long-time coach at Florida and served on the USA National Team staff last summer.

The tournament kicks off with Virginia taking on Michigan at 1 p.m. The Cavaliers will then face Notre Dame at 3 p.m., while the Fighting Irish finishes against the Dolphins at 5 p.m. JU faces Michigan in the nightcap at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, the Dolphins will open the day against the Fighting Irish at noon and take on the Cavaliers at 2 p.m. The Cavaliers wrap up the day against Michigan at 4 p.m. before the Wolverines face the Fighting Irish at 6 p.m.

The tournament will finish on Sunday with Michigan facing Notre Dame at 10 a.m. and JU hosting Virginia for the second straight day at noon.

Fans can take in each game at the tournament for $5 or purchase a weekend pass for all 10 games for only $10

Fan can also follow JU this weekend through Gametracker on JUDolphins.com. Gametracker features up-to-the minute play-by-play, statistics and rosters, as well as game reports and comparisons. You can access Gametracker by clicking on the link at the bottom of the front page on JUDolphins.com.