The UNCG Spartan softball team will begin their season on Thursday, Feb. 11. The blue and gold will play their first game of 2016 against Jacksonville University. The game will be played in Jacksonville, Fla. at the Jackson University Invitational softball tournament. A four day tournament, the JU Invitational will see the Spartans go head to head with Coastal Carolina, Kansas and, in-state rival, North Carolina State.
From there, the softball team will take on Longwood, the University of South Carolina, Ohio and Winthrop at the University of South Carolina Tournament. This tournament will be played over two days from Feb. 19 to Feb. 20 in Columbia, S.C. The Spartans will play a challenging two game a day schedule over the Friday-Saturday competition.
UNCG’s first home game will see the softball team take on the Tar Heels of the UNC Chapel Hill. Head Coach Janelle Breneman will look to lead her team to take down the women’s in-state rivals on Wednesday, Feb. 24. The game is scheduled at 4:00 p.m.
Following their first home game, the Spartans will host the UNCG Invitational, a three-day affair that will attract Iona, Lehigh, Youngstown State and Pittsburgh to go head-to-head with the Spartans. This tournament will run from Friday, Feb. 26 to Sunday the Feb. 28.
The weekend after the UNCG Invitational, the Blue and Gold of the softball team will host the UNCG Classic softball tournament from March 4 to March 6. Consisting of double headers against Rutgers and Brown and games against North Carolina central and Appalachian State, the UNCG Classic will serve as a solid test before the Spartans hit the road again the following weekend.
A tournament in Wilmington, N.C. on March 12 and 13 will see the Spartans alternate playing the Seahawks of UNC Wilmington and the Scotsmen of Presbyterian College. Shortly following this the softball team will return home to compete in a midweek doubleheader against Bryant University on Tuesday, March 15.
Coming a few days after the games against Bryant will be the Blue/Gold Challenge. This will be the last tournament the Spartans host. Competition will consist of Robert Morris, George Washington and Northern Illinois from March 18 – 19, with the softball team playing five games in total.
The Spartans will then play Elon and Drexel at home on March 23 and March 25, before hitting the road to take on Southern Conference rivals throughout the month of April. The first weekend of April will see the Blue & Gold travel to play conference and in-state rivals Western Carolina. That following weekend, the softball team will host Mercer at home, playing three games against the Bears.
April 16 -17 will see the Spartans host a series of games at home for the second weekend in a row. The Spartans will take on SoCon rivals in the Furman Paladins before getting back on the road the next weekend to face off against East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tenn. The Buccaneers are also in the Southern Conference.
After returning from games against ETSU, the softball team will take on Chattanooga at home from April 30 – May 1. Following these home games against their in-conference rivals, the Blue and Gold will head to Birmingham Alabama to play against their other conference rivals, Samford, from May 7 – 8.
Following a tough competition schedule through the month of April, the UNCG softball team will have the honor of hosting the Southern Conference tournament. The tournament will attract Southern Conference schools from across the southeast. The tournament will be played from May 11 – May 14.
Spurred on by three consecutive winning seasons in recent years and strong leadership in the form of six seniors, the Spartans of the UNCG softball team look set up to have a great season.