Softball Bears Announce 2009 Schedule



SPRINGFIELD -- The Missouri State softball team will break in its new home field by hosting 24 games on 17 dates in 2009, Director of Athletics Bill Rowe announced Wednesday. The Bears will compete in four early season tournaments, including the All-Missouri Breast Cancer Tournament, which MSU will host as part of the grand opening of Killian Softball Stadium, March 6-8.

Missouri State will face a schedule that includes five 2008 NCAA Tournament participants and 11 potential match-ups in all against clubs that earned postseason berths last season.

"We’ll play 10 teams that are new to our schedule in the first month of the season," head coach Holly Hesse said. "It’s always exciting to play new competition and, with the four early tournaments, we should get the season off to a good start. Overall, our schedule is a good mix of some very strong programs, as well as some teams we can definitely compete against."

The Bears will kick off the campaign on Feb. 6 against Nicholls State with the first of a five-game slate in the Centenary Tournament in Shreveport, La. After taking a week off, MSU will be back in action Feb. 20-22, in Denton, Texas, as part of a Sleep Inn Classic field that includes Iowa State, North Texas, Butler, Central Arkansas and MVC foe Wichita State. Next, the Bears head to Chattanooga, Tenn., where they will square off against Valparaiso, Tennessee Tech and Sacred Heart in pool play with the possibility of facing NCAA participants Chattanooga and Princeton in the championship round.

To open the home portion of the schedule, the Bears will welcome the state of Missouri’s other four Division I programs to Springfield for the All-Missouri Breast Cancer Tournament the first weekend in March. MSU will battle Southeast Missouri State (March 6) and UMKC (March 7) the first two days of the meet, before matching up against Mizzou and Saint Louis on the final day of the tournament (March 8).

Single-game dates with Oklahoma State (March 17), Iowa State (March 19) and SIU-Edwardsville (April 2), as well as doubleheaders with Kansas (March 12) and UMKC (April 8) round out the home portion of the Bears’ non-conference slate. Two of MSU’s out of conference road tests will come against NCAA Tournament clubs from last year, as the Bears will travel to Arkansas (April 22) and Tulsa (April 29). MSU will complete its home-and-home with Oklahoma State on April 23 when they take on the Cowgirls in Stillwater in its only other non-conference road game.

In conference play, Missouri State will host UNI (March 14-15), Drake (March 28-29), Wichita State (April 15), Evansville (April 18-19) and Creighton (April 25-26), and travel to Indiana State (March 21-22), Wichita State (March 26), Illinois State (April 4-5), Southern Illinois (April 10-11) and Bradley (May 2-3). The State Farm MVC Tournament will take place May 7-9, at Laura Bradley Park in Peoria, Ill.

Missouri State will begin its 41st season of varsity softball in 2009 with an overall record of 908-737-2. Holly Hesse enters her 21st season as head coach of the Bears with a career mark of 529-501-2. The Bears return six seniors, including All-MVC performers Brooke Kempker and Jessie Smith, and all but two regulars from last year’s 28-22 club that fell just one win short of capturing the school’s sixth MVC Tournament title.



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