PHILADELPHIA – Winter may still be here but the University of Pennsylvania softball team is ready to get its spring season underway, as college softball began a few weeks ago around the country. Instead of starting the season against Big 5 rival *Saint Joseph’s as originally planned, the Quakers will now open over their spring break trip to Florida, where they will play in two tournaments -- the UCF Spring Fling and the USF Under Armour Showcase -- totaling 12 games. The Red and Blue are set to kick off the trip to the sunshine state with Troy on Friday at 3:30 p.m.
UCF Spring Fling: Orlando, Fla.
Penn will open up the season as the home team on a neutral Central Florida field against Troy at 3:30 p.m. and then again against Western Carolina under the lights at 8 p.m. The Quakers will play as the away team in both games on Saturday, where they will first face host UCF at 6 p.m. before playing in a second night game with Bowling Green. In the final game of the tournament on Sunday, the Red and Blue will see Colgate at 11 a.m.
USF Under Armour Showcase: Tampa, Fla.
Monday will be Penn’s travel day but the team will be right back in action on Tuesday at Clearwater's national and state award winning softball facility, the Eddie C. Moore Complex, with Seton Hall at 11 a.m. The Quakers will have a short break afterwards before taking the mound with Quinnipiac at 1:15 p.m. On Wednesday, the Red and Blue will travel to the new USF Softball Stadium on the Bulls’ campus to play Providence at 2:30 p.m. before taking on host USF under the lights at 7:15 p.m. Thursday’s games will be back at the ECM, starting with Butler at 11 a.m. and then Maine at 1:30 p.m. Penn will close out its spring break trip with the Netherlands on Friday at 10 a.m.
Ten players joined the defending Ivy League champions for the 2014 season. Leah Allen, Vera Barnwell, Courtney Cuzick, Ines Diaz, Lainey Dorris, Sydney Kranzmann, Alexis Sargent, Cedar Slovacek, Casey Stevko, and Emily Stinnett will suit up for the Red and Blue as members of the Class of 2017.
“The incoming athletes have all played at a high level and should be able to step right in where the team needs them,” said Head Coach Leslie King. “They are a dynamic group that has already developed great chemistry, and we are looking forward to seeing the impact they make.”
Two-time first-team All-Ivy pitcher Alexis Borden, two-time second-team All-Ivy outfielder Sydney Turchin, three-time All-Ivy honoree Elysse Gorney, and 2013 All-Ivy honoree Lauren Li are back for Penn and are on a quest for their second title of Ivy League champion along with third baseman Kayla Dahlerbruch, outfielder Kanani Datan, pitcher Amanda Gisonni, and catcher/utility player Korinne Raby.
The Quakers had much to celebrate last season with the program’s second Ivy League title and first appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Red and Blue finished their season 30-20 overall and 16-4 in the Ivy League. In the Ivy League Championship Series, the Red and Blue defeated Dartmouth to win the program’s second Ivy League title and first ever NCAA playoff berth, where they played a pair of nationally-televised games on ESPN in the national tournament.
*Snow and cold weather caused the postponement of the season home opener with the Hawks, which will now be played on March 23 at 12 p.m.