Hawkeyes To Open Season In Texas

Feb. 3, 2009

IOWA CITY – On Deck ? The University of Iowa softball team kicks off the 2009 season by traveling to Austin, TX, for the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational. Below is Iowa’s schedule at the tournament. All times are central.

Friday, Feb. 6
vs. Stephen F. Austin – 12 p.m.
vs. Florida State – 2:30 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 7
at Texas – 1:30 p.m.
vs. TBD – 5 OR 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 8
vs. TBD – 10 a.m. OR 12:30 p.m.

Hawkeyes on the Web ? Fan’s who can’t make it to Texas can follow the action at hawkeyesports.com, where live stats (Gametracker) will be available. The “GT” link can be found under the calendar tab on the right-hand side of the hawkeyesports.com home page, or on the softball schedule page.

Tough Schedule in `09 ? Iowa is scheduled to face 16 teams that were selected for the NCAA Tournament in 2008, including four super-regional teams and the defending national champion.

Central Florida, Texas, Stephen F. Austin, Kent State, Michigan, Chattanooga, Florida State, Long Beach State, Northwestern, Western Illinois, Drake, Arizona State, Long Island, Purdue, Cal State Fullerton and UCLA all played in a regional. Michigan, Northwestern, Arizona State and UCLA all advanced to super regional action and Arizona State was the 2008 NCAA national champion.

Opponents in the Polls ? Five Iowa opponents are ranked in both the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 preseason polls.

Arizona State (2nd/3rd), UCLA (4th/4th), Michigan (8th/5th), Northwestern (9th/11th) and Long Beach State (24th/20th), are all ranked.

In addition, Purdue is receiving votes in both polls while Central Florida and Chattanooga are receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA poll.

Iowa in the Polls ? The Hawkeyes are one of 21 teams listed as receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 preseason poll and one of 20 teams receiving votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 preseason poll.

Strong in the Circle ? Iowa returns one of the top pitching staffs in the country this season.

Senior Brittany Weil and junior Amanda Zust combined for a 1.23 earned-run average last season, which ranked seventh nationally. Weil ranked 22nd in the country in wins (2) and 23rd in earned-run average (1.22). Zust was 14th nationally in hits allowed per seven innings (3.87) and 24th in earned-run average (1.24).

Award Winners Return ? All four players who garnered postseason awards in 2008 return this season.

Senior Colleen McGlaughlin was a first team NFCA all-Mideast selection and was also one of 11 softball student-athletes to be named ESPN the Magazine first team Academic all-American. She also earned second team all-Big Ten honors. Senior Brittany Weil was also a first team NFCA all-Mideast region pick and a second team all-Big Ten selection. Junior Katie Brown was named first team all-Big Ten, while senior Quinn Morelock was recognized on the third all-Big Ten team.

Hawkeyes Finish `08 Season Strong ? Iowa went on a tear at the end of the 2008 season, winning seven of its final 10 games, before falling to Missouri in heartbreaking fashion in the NCAA Iowa City Regional championship game. The Hawkeyes also advanced to the Big Ten Tournament championship game, falling to host-school Northwestern, 1-0.

Iowa was listed as receiving votes in both polls to end the season, and also finished with an RPI of 30.

Road Warriors ? Iowa is scheduled to play its first 29 games on the road this season. The Hawkeyes will open the home portion of its schedule March 22 with a doubleheader against South Dakota.

The Hawkeyes wracked up a 29-26 record on the road last season, including an 11-10 mark in true road contests and an 18-6 record in neutral site games.

New Field, Same Location ? Pearl Field, Iowa’s home facility, received a major facelift after the Floods of 2008.

Pearl Field was gutted and re-built, with new additions including a new Hilltopper infield surface and new outfield sod, new concessions and restrooms, new locker rooms and team meeting areas among other additions.

The facility will be ready for Iowa’s home opener March 22.

Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational Notes ? Iowa is 17-14 all-time in season-opening games, including a 12-9 mark under Blevins. The Hawkeyes have won four-straight season openers.

? Stephen F. Austin is picked to win the Southland Conference this season.

? Texas Assistant Coach Marla Looper served as an assistant at Iowa State during the 1996 season. Iowa defeated the Cyclones twice that year, 7-1 and 7-5.

? Iowa and Florida State faced each other last year at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The Seminoles posted two runs in the top of the seventh for a 2-0 victory.

? Iowa is 3-1 all-time vs. Stephen F. Austin and 3-3 vs. Florida State. The Hawkeyes have never faced Texas.

Bye-Bye Big Ten Tourney ? This season marks the first time in 15 years there will be no Big Ten Softball Tournament. The conference coaches decided to cancel the tournament after last season.

The first Big Ten Tournament was held in 1982, but the conference didn’t host another postseason tournament until the 1995 season.

Iowa won two Big Ten Tournament titles (2001, 2003) and hosted the tournament three times.

SoftBlog ? Senior Erin Riemersma, junior Lindsey Digmann and freshman Liz Watkins will blog for hawkeyesports.com throughout the season. The student-athletes will discuss life on the road and what its like being a softball player at the University of Iowa.

Fans can access the blog on the softball page of hawkeyesports.com.

New Assistant Coach ? Diane Stephenson is in her first season as an assistant coach at Iowa.

Stephenson, who will serve as Iowa’s hitting coach and instruct the Hawkeye catchers, is no stranger to Blevins or Iowa softball. She served as an assistant at Indiana from 1983-87 under Blevins during the most successful era in Hoosier softball history. The duo helped lead Indiana to two Big Ten championships (1983 and 1986), two NCAA Midwest Regional championships (1983 and 1986) and three NCAA Women’s College World Series berths (1980, 1983 and 1986).

Stephenson was then picked to replace Blevins as Indiana’s head coach and held the position from 1987-2002. She was named both the Big Ten and Midwest Region Coach of the Year in 1996.

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