Softball opens 2008 Regular Season against Minnesota on Thursday

Feb. 6, 2008

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Complete Release in PDF Format

The Dolphins will set out on their goal of reaching the Atlantic Sun Tournament as they open the 2008 regular season with a tough test, taking on Minnesota, who is a member of the Big 10 Conference.

In 2007, the Dolphins just missed qualifying for the 2007 Atlantic Sun Tournament despite facing a schedule that featured six defending conference champions and nine 2006 NCAA Tournament participants.

Despite the tough schedule, the Dolphins managed to pull off some key wins including a 3-2 victory over South Florida and a 2-1 win over Memphis. The Dolphins also defeated cross town rival North Florida for the first time in program history and took national powerhouse North Carolina to extra innings.

Mirante named preseason all-conference

Senior outfielder Jillian Mirante was named to the preseason all-conference team after earning A-Sun first-team all-conference honors in 2007.

Mirante started all 58 games for the Dolphins and stole a school single-season record 10 bases en route to becoming JU's all-time stolen base leader with 27. She led team with a career-high 57 hits and a.326 batting average. She also finished second on the team with .389 slugging percentage and hit two inside the park home runs.

Head coach Amanda Lehotak

Amanda Lehotak enters her second season as the Dolphins head coach after becoming the Dolphins third head coach in school history on June 30, 2006, after serving as the top assistant under Melissa Gentile in 2006.

As an assistant in 2006, Lehotak was in charge of the recruiting and defense. She helped center fielder Katie Pestrak to a career-best .987 fielding percentage, while senior Janine Palumbo tallied a .986 fielding percentage en route to second team all-conference honors.

Prior to JU, Lehotak helped Missouri Western State College to a 48-20 overall record and a spot in the Division II North Central Regional as an assistant coach in 2005.

Dolphins to be featured on A-Sun.TV

There is good news for JU softball fans as the Dolphins will take have almost 30 games broadcast live on video streaming, beginning with the 2008 regular season opener against Minnesota.

ASun.TV events will be available for viewing both live and via on-demand replay to fans throughout the country that purchase a single event pass ($5.99 per event), a monthly all-event pass ($9.99 per month), or an annual all-event pass ($69.99 per year). Both the annual and monthly all-event passes allow unlimited access to games within their respective timeframes.

Youth movement

The Dolphins feature one of the youngest squads in the conference, with 14 of its 19 players being underclassmen.

The Dolphins welcome seven new players to the team this year, headlined by sophomore infielder Shannon Monahan who transfers from Sante Fe Community College.

The six freshman that will be joining the Dolphins this year are catcher Jessica Abraham from American Senior in Miami, Fla., infielder Brie Carmack from Florence Christian in Florence, S.C., outfielder Katarina Engler from Barron Collier in Naples, Fla., infielder Katie Kelly from West Nassau in Callahan, Fla., Kayla Ouellet from Boone in Orlando, Fla. and Jackie Samuels from Peachtree Ridge in Suwanee, Ga.

JU/Best Western Invitational

The Dolphins will host the JU/Best Western Invitational that begins on Friday and lasts through the weekend.

JU plays a double-header on Friday, taking on Minnesota for the second time in two days at 5 p.m. and UNC-Greensboro at 7:15. On Saturday, the Dolphins will face off against Coastal Carolina at 5 p.m. and Southern Illinois at 7:15 p.m, before wrapping up the invitational on Sunday with a game against Coastal Carolina at 1:30 p.m.