Rider Softball Schedule Released
50-Game Slate Begins February 21
Home Opener March 30
LAWRENCEVILLE—Three tournaments, 10 home dates and a new 20-game Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schedule highlight the competition that the Rider University softball team will face in 2014, that will hopefully culminate with the Broncs participating in the new, six-team conference playoffs at Fairfield University, May 7-10.
“We are pretty excited to face the opponents we have been able to schedule this season,” said head coach Tricia Carroll who is beginning her 20th season at Rider with 383 wins. “We have some past rivals that we are playing again and have added some new teams as well. We are focused on getting better each game and we can’t wait to get started.”
Rider opens the season February 21-23, in Greensboro, North Carolina at the Aggie Invitational, hosted by North Carolina A&T. Competing with the Broncs in the five-game tournament are Maryland Eastern Shore, Saint Francis (Pa.), Morgan State and the host Aggies.
“It’s fun to schedule and play different teams,” Carroll said. “You get a good mix and see different styles and ultimately, you are trying to see as much competition as possible that will mimic what you will face when conference play begins. The schedule is competitive by design.”
From February 28-March 2, Rider travels to Fairfax, Virginia for the George Mason tournament with Cornell, Army and the host Patriots competing against Rider in a five-game set.
On March 7-9, Baltimore, Maryland is the destination as the Bronc squad will face Delaware, the University at Buffalo, Lafayette and the host Eagles in the four-game Coppin State tournament.
New this season, Rider will travel to South Carolina and Virginia for spring break, competing against the likes of the College of Charleston, Charleston Southern and Norfolk State during the five-game trip.
“We try to get as high of a competitive level as possible which prepares us for the conference schedule,” Carroll said about the planning process. “We also look to try to go south and get some warm weather games as well so we can compete in cooperative weather conditions.”
The balance of the non-conference slate includes road games at Columbia, Army and Saint Joseph’s. Non-conference home games include Princeton University on April 1, Lehigh University on April 2, Villanova University on April 10, Lafayette College on April 22 and La Salle University on April 30.
With the addition of Monmouth University and Quinnipiac University, the MAAC schedule now consists of 20 conference games, two against each of the 10 opponents, with the top six teams advancing to Fairfield, Connecticut and a chance at the MAAC automatic berth to the NCAA Championship.
“Adding Quinnipiac and Monmouth to the MAAC, they are both really solid programs,” Carroll added. “That makes the conference stronger and more interesting. With only 20 games and doubleheaders as opposed to a three-game series, you are still going to have a lot of splits and tiebreakers so all of the games are still really important. You still need to come out ready to play for each MAAC series.”
Rider opens MAAC play with a home doubleheader against Saint Peter’s University on March 30.
Other home MAAC series include Siena College on April 5, Quinnipiac on April 6, Marist College on April 13 and Manhattan College on April 19.
Several special events are planned for the home portion of the schedule at Herb and Joan Young Field and they include Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day when Rider hosts Princeton on April 1, Alumni/Fan Appreciation Day on April 13 when the Broncs host Marist and Rider will honor its graduating seniors on April 19, between games of the Manhattan doubleheader.
The six-team post-season for the MAAC tournament is something that Carroll is excited about after seeing her squad miss the playoffs by one game several times over the past decade.
“We were right there in a lot of our games last season in conference play,” Carroll said. “With two more teams making the playoffs, you have more of a chance for your student-athletes to experience playing for a MAAC championship and that’s great.”