Softball releases 2010 schedule
Head coach Amanda Lehotak and the Dolphins open the season on Feb. 12 against UNC Greensboro.
Head coach Amanda Lehotak and the Dolphins open the season on Feb. 12 against UNC Greensboro.
Despite the frigid cold weather, the JU softball team is beginning work for its first game on Feb. 12 as the Dolphins release their 2010 schedule.

The Dolphins, who return 14 players from last season, has another tough slate ahead of them as JU plays seven teams from the NCAA Tournament – including national runner-up Florida. They will also be tested towards the end of the season with five straight road games before the Atlantic Sun Tournament.

“We are excited to get going,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “This is another tough schedule, but we are becoming more equipped to handle it. We have a good amount of depth this season which will help us as the year progresses. We made the conference tournament last season so our goal is to get back there and go a little further this time.”

The Dolphins open the 2010 season against UNC Greensboro and Bethune Cookman on the first day of their home tournament. They will also host Drexel and ACC power Virginia Tech before finishing against the playing UNC Greensboro against on Valentine’s Day to close the tournament.

After traveling to play Florida (Feb. 17), the Dolphins host Presbyterian for a three-game series from Feb. 20-21. JU will play Florida State in a single game at home on Feb. 24, which also kicks off the Dolphins’ A-Sun.TV schedule.

The Dolphins will compete in the Coastal Carolina Tournament against Eastern Kentucky, Canisius, DePaul and the host Chanticleers starting Feb. 26. JU opens the month of March against Memphis, St. Joseph’s, Temple, Austin Peay and Loyola-Chicago at the USF/Under Armour Tournament in Clearwater, Fla. (March 5-7).

JU will host Toledo for a doubleheader at home (March 10) before playing Syracuse, Western Kentucky, Iowa, Charleston Southern and the Hokies again in their final tournament at the Florida Atlantic starting March 12.

Other non-conferences games include hosting Florida A&M (March 17), Georgia Southern (March 20) and Bethune Cookman (April 14). They will take trips to Savannah State (March 20) and UCF (May 4).

JU begins its 20-game A-Sun schedule in Fort Myers, Fla. against Florida Gulf Coast on March 25. They will play Belmont (April 1) and Lipscomb (April 2) at home before heading across town to face UNF on April 6.

After finishing the home conference schedule against ETSU and USC Upstate, the Dolphins end the year with four straight A-Sun road games against Campbell, Kennesaw State, Mercer and Stetson beginning April 17.

The 2010 A-Sun Softball Championship is once again hosted by Stetson at Patricia Wilson Filed in DeLand, Fla. starting May 13.

On the field in 2009, JU battled through several injuries to finish the year with the second-best record in school history and make the A-Sun Tournament for the first time since 2005. The Dolphins also produced two five-game winning streaks, which are both tied for the second longest stretches in the program’s existence.

Junior infielder Katie Kelly returns after leading the Dolphins in hitting for the second straight season en route to earning first team all-conference. Sophomore hurler Sarah Sigrest had most of her pitching categories finish in the top four of the single-season lists en route to receive all-freshman honors during her first season. Kelly also became the first Dolphin in program history to earn Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Region first team honors.