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    Softball Releases 2008 Schedule, Will Face Defending National Champion Arizona On Opening Day

    FIGHTING IRISH The Irish will play their home contests in the newly constructed Melissa Cook Stadium starting in the spring of 2008.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    The Irish will play their home contests in the newly constructed Melissa Cook Stadium starting in the spring of 2008.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Sept. 26, 2007

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Four participants from the 2007 NCAA Women's College World Series - including defending national champion Arizona - highlight the University of Notre Dame softball team's recently released 2008 spring schedule. The Irish will face Arizona after playing Utah in a Feb. 15 doubleheader to open the spring campaign at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz.

    "Once again, we've put together a tough schedule to not only prepare us for a run at a BIG EAST title, but to get us into the NCAA championship game," said head coach Deanna Gumpf. "We play some great teams early, which will allow us to gauge where we are and where we need to be come tournament time."

    Notre Dame will finish the Kajikawa Classic with matchups against Western Kentucky and Texas A&M on Feb. 16, then look to avenge last season's loss to California (Feb. 17).

    Florida will host the Aquafina Invitational (Feb. 22-24), with Notre Dame joining Gardner-Webb, North Florida, and the Gators in the four-team field.

    The Irish not only get the chance to accumulate their share of frequent flyer miles, but will also face a stiff field of competition over a nine-day West Coast swing. Pacific, UC Davis, and host Cal State Fullerton comprise the assemblage of opponents at the Worth Invitational (March 3-2), and a single game at UC Riverside on March 4 will be ensued by five contests in the Long Beach Invitational (March 7-9).

    Charleston Southern will roll out the carpet for Notre Dame, Towson, and Campbell in its round-robin invitational March 14-15.

    Non-conference games at Western Michigan (March 19) and Illinois-Chicago (March 27) will sandwich Notre Dame's first-ever showdown in the newly constructed Melissa Cook Stadium, with IUPUI slated as the guest team on March 26.

    The BIG EAST portion of the schedule kicks off at DePaul on March 30, followed by out-of-conference home dates with Ball State (April 1) and Toledo (April 2). Road trips to St. John's (April 5) and Seton Hall (April 6) will set the table for the christening of league play at home, as Rutgers and Villanova visit Notre Dame on the weekend of April 12-13. But those will be the only BIG EAST teams coming to town, with Notre Dame packing its bags for the rest of league play amid trips to Louisville (April 19), South Florida (April 20), Providence (April 26), UConn (April 27), Pittsburgh (May 3), and Syracuse (May 4).

     

     

    The Irish visit perennial power Northwestern for a single match on April 15 and host Wisconsin the following day. They will also travel to challenge instate foes Purdue (April 22) and Valparaiso (May 1).

    Louisville's Ulmer Stadium will be the host site for the 2008 BIG EAST Conference Tournament, which will be played from May 5-10.

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