ETSU softball announces 2010 schedule
Friday, November 6, 2009

Six teams from NCAA Tournament play and a trip to California in store for Lady Bucs in 2010   


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 6, 2009) - When looking at the 2010 ETSU softball schedule two words come to mind - "Road Warriors."


The Lady Bucs, who kick off the season with 24 consecutive road games, face six teams from NCAA Tournament play a year ago, as head ETSU softball coach Andrea Mangrum released the 2010 schedule on Friday afternoon.


"I think playing 24 straight road games will bring this team closer," added Mangrum. "We wanted try to utilize our new stadium early in the season, but due to the weather conditions in East Tennessee we are forced to play in warmer climates."


ETSU kicks off the season playing in five tournaments - which begins on Feb. 13 in Charlotte, N.C. The Lady Bucs open up the campaign with BIG EAST foe St. John's at 11 a.m. Along with the Red Storm, ETSU will also play Liberty and the host 49ers.


Following their stint in Charlotte, the Lady Bucs make the trip to Greenville, S.C. for a doubleheader with Furman on Feb. 17.


From there, the Lady Bucs continue with tournament play in Atlanta where ETSU collides with Temple, Eastern Illinois and Georgia State. The Panther Invitational takes place from Feb. 20-21 inside Georgia State's Bob Heck Field.


The Lady Bucs finally play their first set of games inside the Volunteer state in 2010 when ETSU makes the journey to Chattanooga. ETSU goes head-to-head with Central Connecticut State and Ball State on Feb. 26; while taking on in-state rival and 2009 NCAA Participant - UT-Martin - along with BIG EAST foe Rutgers on Feb. 27. The Lady Bucs close out competition at the Frost Classic with another in-state counterpart - Tennessee Tech - on Sunday, Feb. 28.


ETSU wraps up its tournament play when the Lady Bucs make their longest road trip in school history, and seniors Marissa Hardy (Rocklin) and Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley) make a visit to their home state of California from March 5-13. During this span, the Lady Bucs will play in two tournaments - one in Riverside and the other in Fresno. The pair of tournaments include games with four teams who appeared in postseason play last year - including the opening game with Big 10 opponent Ohio State on March 5 in Riverside. Joining ETSU in Riverside are the host Highlanders (March 5), and BIG EAST foe and NCAA Tournament participant Notre Dame (March 6). The Lady Bucs then travel north to Fresno to play in the Bayer CropScience Classic - marking their final regular season tournament of the campaign. While in Fresno, ETSU takes on host Fresno State (March 11), Cal State Northridge and Georgetown (March 12). Then, ETSU plays Colorado State and Mississippi State on March 13.


"I feel all four of these tournaments will test the girls each and every weekend," Mangrum said. "Each tournament features teams from the top conferences, and opponents who reached the NCAA Tournament last season. I always feel in order to become stronger you have to play teams that are very successful, and I believe this format achieves that goal in 2010."


"The trip to California will be a special one for Cheniece and Marissa. When they arrived on campus I told them we would make a trip back home before they graduate, so I wanted to fulfill my promise to them. Both Cheniece and Marissa as well as this entire senior class have meant so much to the Lady Buccaneer program, so I wanted to reward them with this special trip."  


After the 24-game road trip - which covers four tournaments in four different states - the Lady Bucs finally say hello to Johnson City when ETSU hosts Presbyterian in its home-opener on March 20.


"The home-opener is always an exciting game, and I am sure the team will be ready to protect their home turf," mentioned Mangrum. "The early road games are critical, so we can enter the home-opener on a high note and have the stadium filled for the game against Presbyterian." 


The home stand doesn't last long for the Lady Bucs, as Mangrum's squad embarks on a three-game road swing to close out the month of March. ETSU begins Atlantic Sun Conference play with a series in the Music City against Lipscomb (March 26) and Belmont (March 27). The Lady Bucs conclude their road trip with the short trip over the mountain to Boone and play Appalachian State on March 31.


"Opening A-Sun play in Nashville is a good test for our team," said Mangrum. "Playing on the road is never easy, but adding in-state and conference rivals to mix makes things much more difficult. It's very important to get off to a hot start in conference play, because that will set the tone for the rest of the season." 


Once again the Lady Bucs return home for a brief two-game home stand when conference contenders Stetson and FGCU visit the newly built ETSU Softball Complex. The Lady Bucs host the Hatters on April 2 and Eagles on April 3.


During the final stretch of the season, the Lady Bucs split time both at home and on the road. ETSU travels to Blacksburg for a night game with Virginia Tech on April 6, before heading down to Florida for a critical A-Sun showdown with Jacksonville (April 9) and North Florida (April 10). Other road swings include a trip to North Carolina for games at UNC Central and a doubleheader against A-Sun Champion Campbell on April 22.


Following a trip to USC Upstate on April 25, the Lady Bucs wrap up regular play with a three-series home stand starting on April 28 against Western Carolina. In addition to the Catamounts, ETSU hosts former A-Sun rival Gardner-Webb (May 1) and Big South and 2009 NCAA participant Radford on May 7.


The Atlantic Sun Tournament and automatic bid to the NCAA Regional will again take place in DeLand, Fla., as Stetson hosts the top six teams. The only team not eligible in 2010 is the Eagles from Florida Gulf Coast. The double-elimination tournament begins on May 13-15 at Patricia Wilson Field.


"The team knows what the goal is entering the season, and they know the journey to an A-Sun Championship won't be easy," said Mangrum. "They know the hard work in the fall and preseason will eventually pay off when the regular season rolls around. We can't take any opponent lightly and have to play fundamentally smart ball each time we take the field. If we follow this recipe, we know our goals can be reached."    


For more information regarding Lady Buccaneer softball, visit