EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Following a successful fall season, SIUE softball Interim Head Coach Jessica Jones announced her team's 2019 schedule.
SIUE has five tournaments scheduled for the nonconference portion of the season, including one at Cougar Field and two in Hawaii.
The Cougars open the 2019 season Feb. 15-17 at the Southeastern Louisiana Tournament in Hammond, Louisiana. SIUE begins the season with Nicholls State and Prairie View A&M on opening day. SIUE meets Missouri State twice and Saint Louis in the other three games.
"Preseason is all about getting the girls on the field and preparing for the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament," said Jones. "Opening up at Southeastern Louisiana is a great opportunity for us to see where we are as we enter the remainder of our season. All the teams are challenging, and we will be working hard through the winter to make sure we are prepared for the competition."
The other February tournament for the Cougars is at Arkansas where the team faces IUPUI and Arkansas twice as well as Drake. Both Arkansas and Drake advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season.
SIUE welcomes four teams to Cougar Field March 1-2 for the Cougar Classic. The Cougars meet Western Illinois, Green Bay, UMKC and Purdue Fort Wayne.
"After two weekends out, we are excited to host a tournament in front of our home fans," said Jones. "This also gives us the opportunity to play some home games prior to the conference season starting up. It's always a different feel and a different routine when you play home games."
The schedule takes an exciting turn after the Cougar Classic as the Cougars head to the Hawaii Spring Fling (March 9-10) and the Rainbow Wahine Classic (March 13-15). SIUE also meets Hawaii in a single game March 11. SIUE's three players families from Hawaii will have an opportunity to stay on the island and watch their daughters play Division I softball.
"We are extremely excited about this Hawaii trip," exclaimed Jones. "Being so family-oriented, it means so much to the girls to get to experience their teammates Hawaiian culture and play such high caliber competition like Alabama, Cal, Utah and Hawaii. We are all looking very forward to the trip!"
SIUE has additional nonconference games schedule with Bradley (Apr. 3) at home as well as Illinois (Apr. 17), Saint Louis (Apr. 24) and SIU Carbondale (May 1) on the road.
The OVC season begins March 22 with a new weekend format.
"The OVC decided to move into a new Friday and Sunday doubleheader schedule," noted Jones. "It should be interesting to see how this set up changes the dynamic of the competition with having a rest day between competition dates. This does, however, allow for more opportunity for rain make-ups to help each team get as many games in as possible. We are also playing our travel partner Eastern Illinois in a mid-week doubleheader (Apr. 9)."
SIUE's home OVC doubleheaders include Austin Peay (March 22), Murray State (March 24), Southeast Missouri (April 5), UT Martin (April 19), Tennessee State (April 26), and Belmont (April 28). The road OVC doubleheaders include Jacksonville State (March 29), Tennessee Tech (March 31), Eastern Kentucky (April 12) and Morehead State (April 14).
The schedule also allows for an extra weekend at the end of the season for make-ups.
"Even though this is my first year as interim head coach, I have been working hand-in-hand with Coach (Sandy) Montgomery the last five years in this conference," she said. "SIUE has and will always be a threat for the conference championship year in and year out."