TUESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2011
Softball announces 2011 schedule
The ting of the bats will once again become a familiar sound on campus starting Feb. 11 as the JU softball team releases its 2011 schedule.

The first two weekends will be tough for the Dolphins as they host two home tournaments with the likes of Kansas, North Carolina and Jacksonville State. Also in the middle of the two tournaments is a non-conference game against Florida on Feb. 16 at the JU Softball Complex.

“We are looking forward to the season,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. "(The) team is really focused and they are anxious to start the season. As a program, we feel we underachieved last year and we are ready to make up for it.”

The Dolphins begin their first home tournament on Feb. 11 against Buffalo and Bethune-Cookman before wrapping the weekend against North Carolina and Kansas the next day.

After playing the Gators, JU will kick off its second home tournament on Feb. 18 against Central Michigan and Jacksonville State. They will also take on Florida A&M during the three-day schedule.

Following a home doubleheader with South Dakota State (Feb. 22), the Dolphins hit the road for three straight tournaments. There schedule will begin with the FAU Tournament (Feb. 25-27) against UCONN, Pittsburgh, Maryland and the host Owls.

JU heads to Clearwater, Fla. for the first of two tournaments starting March 4 to play St. Joseph’s, Maine, Radford, Villanova and Toledo in the USF/Under Armour Tournament. The Dolphins will play Texas A&M (March 17) in Clearwater for a game before starting the USF The Game Tournament the next day against Texas Tech, Colorado State, Dartmouth, Winthrop and Boston.

Other non-conference games include hosting Delaware State (March 10) and Florida State (April 5) along with trips to Georgia Southern (March 29), Florida A&M (April 13) and Bethune-Cookman (April 27).

The Dolphins’ 20-game A-Sun schedule starts with consecutive home doubleheaders against Mercer (March 25) and Kennesaw State (March 26).

JU will spend the next half of the conference schedule on the road with trips to ETSU (April 1), USC Upstate (April 2), Lipscomb (April 8) and Belmont (April 9).

They will host Campbell at the JU Softball Complex on April 16 before taking on FGCU two days later at home.

The Dolphins host cross-town rival UNF for another installment of the SunTrust River City Rumble on May 4. JU wraps the regular season up against Stetson on May 6 for Senior Night at the JU Softball Complex.

The 2011 A-Sun Softball Championship will have a new home as it moves to USC Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C. starting on May 12.

In 2010, JU recorded the second highest win total in program history (33) and the best home record under Lehotak (19-7) to secure the Dolphins second straight A-Sun Tournament berth. The Dolphins set a new single-season record in ERA (2.11), while finishing second on the program list with 329 strikeouts and third in RBI with 175.

The Dolphins will return 13 players from last season, including junior center fielder Kayla Ouellet and senior shortstop Katie Kelly.

Ouellet earned first team all-conference honors after finishing the season with a team-best 66 hits, 32 runs and 16 stolen bases. Kelly added a team-best 34 RBI and enters the year just 15 RBI from the career record and 26 hits from the all-time hits mark.

Sophomore pitcher Olivia Kline returns after posting a 0.93 ERA and 10 wins to earn A-Sun all-freshman honors. Junior Sarah Sigrest hopes to have a bounce back season after fanning eight or more batters in all three appearances en route to a team-best 30 strikeouts.