Posted: February 8, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – As the Mountain Hawks continue preparation for the start of the 2008 season, which is now just two weeks away, Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan has announced the Mountain Hawks 2008 softball schedule. Lehigh will face another challenging slate in 2008, including a pair of early season tournaments and six games against NCAA Regional qualifiers from a year ago. The Mountain Hawks have won the last nine Patriot League regular season championships and will be gunning for their fourth NCAA Regional appearance in the last five seasons.
“We’ve been working hard for the past few weeks,” said Lehigh coach Fran Troyan, who begins his 13th season three wins shy of 400 for his career. “We feel like we are making great progress and are looking forward to getting started with our regular season in a couple of weeks.”
The 2008 season will begin on Friday February 22nd when the Mountain Hawks take part in the Seahawk Classic, hosted by UNC-Wilmington. Lehigh had opened two of its last three campaigns at the prestigious NFCA Leadoff Classic in Georgia, but that tournament has been pushed back a week, allowing Lehigh to open with six competitive games over three days. Lehigh will officially open with games against Delaware State and Charleston Southern on Friday, and then will face the host Seahawks and UNC-Greensboro on Saturday. The tournament will conclude with pool play on Sunday.
Lehigh will then have a week off before making its annual spring break trip to the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Florida. The Mountain Hawks will play 10 games between March 2 and March 7, including three against Detroit and two against Valparaiso. The following weekend, Lehigh will play in its second tournament, the Maryland Spring Break Classic in College Park. The tournament runs from March 14 to 16 and will pit Lehigh against UMBC, Valparaiso, St. Peter’s and Niagara in addition to the host Terrapins.
“The NFCA moved the Leadoff Classic to a week that conflicts with our spring break trip,” added Troyan. “But we feel we are in a really competitive tournament at Wilmington. We also have our usual spring break trip, and we’re excited about playing in Maryland’s tournament. We feel we have one of the toughest schedules on the east coast, despite the fact that we’re not going to the Leadoff Classic this year.”
A trip to Delaware on March 19 begins a string of midweek doubleheaders for the Brown and White, who will then open their home schedule on Saturday March 22 with a doubleheader against Fairfield at Kaufman Field. Former Lehigh standout Emily Ling ’05 is the pitching coach for the Stags, who will also face Lehigh once in Florida during spring break.
After a midweek twinbill with Penn on March 25, Lehigh will embark on a tough ten game road trip that will also usher in the start of Patriot League play. Lehigh will first head to Army for four games on March 29-30. The Black Knights were fourth in the league standings a year ago, but handed the Mountain Hawks their only loss of the Patriot League regular season. On Wednesday April 2, Lehigh heads to Hempstead, N.Y. for a doubleheader against regional power Hofstra. The road trip concludes much closer to home as Lehigh will play a four game series at arch rival Lafayette on April 5 and 6.
The remaining 18 games on the slate will alternate with six at home, then six on the road before concluding with six more at home. The Mountain Hawks will host Villanova for two on April 8, and then Bucknell for four on April 12 and 13, before hitting the road for a doubleheader at Rider on April 16 and four games in Worcester, Massachusetts against Holy Cross on April 19-20. The final home stand of the regular season features a visit from Ivy League foe Princeton on April 22, and then a four game series with defending Patriot League tournament champion Colgate on April 26 and 27. The Raiders edged Lehigh twice in last year’s Patriot League tournament to deny the Mountain Hawks a fourth straight tournament crown.
The Patriot League tournament will be held May 8-10 at the home field of the highest seed.
Lehigh returns four All-Patriot League performers including Player of the Year Kate Marvel and Pitcher of the Year Lisa Sweeney. The Mountain Hawks will open their season on Friday February 22 when they face Delaware State at 10 a.m. at the Seahawk Classic in Wilmington, N.C.