Feb. 9, 2012
Combat Classic Notes
The 24th ranked University of Louisville softball team will open the 2012 season at Florida International's Combat Classic Feb. 10-12 in Miami. Friday's season opening slate will pit the Cards against Michigan State at 1 p.m. and Illinois at 5 p.m.
The Cardinals are coming off of a 38-20 season in which they posted a runner-up finish in the 2011 BIG EAST Championship. Louisville made its eighth straight NCAA regional appearance and was selected as a host site for the second time in three years.
U of L returns seven starters and 15 letterwinners including All-BIG EAST selections Katie Keller, Alicja Wolny, Hannah Kiyohara, Caralisa Connell and Jennifer Esteban.
Combat Classic Schedule
1 p.m. Michigan State vs. Louisville
5 p.m. Illinois vs. Louisville
9 a.m. UAB vs. Louisville
11 a.m. FIU vs. Louisville
9 a.m. Massachusetts vs. Louisville
Head Coach Sandy Pearsall is entering her 13th season as the head coach of the University of Louisville softball program. After building the program from scratch in 2000, Pearsall has guided the Cardinals to three conference championships, eight consecutive NCAA regional appearances including serving as a host site in 2009 and 2011.
The Cards were receiving votes in both polls last season. They were No. 26 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll and No. 30 in the USA Softball poll.
Cards Against the Field
Series Record: Illinois leads 3-0
Last Meeting: February 11, 2007- Illinois won 8-0 at a neutral site.
Scouting the Illini: Illinois posted a 27-22 record and finished third in the Big Ten last season. The Illini return Jessica Davis who was a First Team All-Big Ten selection last year after batting .336 (48-for-143) with 14 home runs, eight doubles, 46 RBIs and 30 runs scored.
Series Record: UL leads 17-2
Last Meeting: March 30, 2005- Louisville won 6-1 at Ulmer Stadium
Scouting the Blazers:UAB is coming off its most successful season in history after posting a 39-19 record, finishing third in Conference USA, and making it to the NCAA Regionals last season. The Blazers return 7 starters from last season, including All-C-USA Second Team selection Mandy Lowman and All-Freshman Team member Leigh Streetman.
Series Record: First meeting
Scouting the Minutewomen:UMass posted a 29-19 record and finished second in the Atlantic 10 regular season last year. UMass is lead by senior pitcher Sara Plourde who has been named to the "Watch List" for the 11th Annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award.
Series Record: First meeting
Scouting the Spartans: MSU posted a 27-27 record and finished 6-14 in the Big Ten last season. The Spartans will be led by 13 returning letterwinners including senior catcher Brett Williams who finished last season hitting .336 with 34 runs scored, 51 hits, 9 doubles, 3 triples, 13 homeruns, and 52 RBIs.
Series Record: UL leads 3-0
Last Meeting: February 6, 2009- Louisville won 5-1 at FIU
Scouting the Golden Panthers: FIU posted a 31-27 record and finish 14-10 in the Sun Belt Conference last season. The Golden Panthers will be led by senior Ashley McClain who has been named to the "Watch List" for the 11th Annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. McClain set a single season school record with a .409 batting average last season.
Cards Ranked No. 25 in NFCA Poll
The University of Louisville softball team is tied for 24th in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches' Association Preseason Rankings released on January 24. This marks the Cards'first appearance in the top 25 since April 13, 2010 when they were ranked 25th. Louisville reached as high as No. 14 in the NFCA poll on March 24 and spent several weeks in the top 25 in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010 and was receiving votes in 2011.
U of L is receiving votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Coaches poll. The Cards reached a program-best in that poll at No. 14 on Mach 1, 2010. They were also ranked in the top 25 in the 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010 seasons.
Louisville Picked Fourth in BIG EAST Preseason Coaches' Poll
recorded two first-place votes and 120 overall points - one behind Notre Dame - to place fourth in the preseason poll. The Cardinals finished the 2011 season with a 38-20 record and a 12-7 league record while making a run to the BIG EAST Championship final, finishing as runner-up for the second year in a row. UofL will return five All-BIG EAST selections in first baseman Alicja Wolny, infielder Katie Keller, infielder Hannah Kiyohara, pitcher Caralisa Connell and outfielder Jennifer Esteban.