Softball schedule packed with ranked foes, five tournaments, another tough OVC lineup

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The 2009 Tennessee Tech softball schedule, which begins next weekend (Feb. 6-8), will present plenty of challenges for the Golden Eagles and veteran coach Tory Acheson.

Tech faces a 55-game slate that features five tournaments in four different states, seven opponents that are either ranked or receiving votes in the preseason polls, a typically tough conference worksheet, and only 15 home games.
“This schedule will be extremely challenging and exciting, especially for a team as young as ours,” said Acheson, who has claimed more than 400 victories during his first 10 seasons in Cookeville.

Simple math gives Acheson an average of more than 40 wins per season as Golden Eagle head coach. He led the Golden Eagles to back-to-back 50-win seasons in 2006 and 2007.

“Basically, we're starting from scratch,” Acheson said of his 2009 squad. “We only have one player left on our roster who was on our last championship team and that turnover is going to make things a little more unsettled early in the year.”

Early in the year is when Tech takes on its toughest opponents with tournaments in Tennessee, Georgia, California and Kentucky.

The slate gets underway next weekend at a tournament in Chattanooga, where Tech will meet Atlantic Sun champion Campbell, Virginia Tech, Maine, Troy, and host and Southern Conference champion UT-Chattanooga.

Tech's 2009 opponents either ranked in the preseason Top 25 or receiving votes include Michigan,Brigham Young, Nevada, UT Chattanooga, Jacksonville State,
Texas and UC Santa Barrbara

From there, the team will take part in the Kennesaw State Tournament in Georgia (Feb. 13-14), going up against Horizon League champion Wright St. In mid-February (Feb. 19-21), Tech will visit the west coast to take on some of the biggest names in the sport, including WAC Champion Nevada, MWC runner-up Brigham Young, and Big West runner-up UC Santa Barbara. Tech’s schedule in the tourney also includes games against Texas and Oregon State.

The Golden Eagles will end the first month by returning to Chattanooga for the Frost Tournament (Feb/ 27-March 1) to challenge Sacred Heart, Missouri State, Valparaiso, and Rhode Island. Tech will round out tournament play in Kentucky (March 7-8) where they will face Big-10 champion Michigan, Louisville, and MAC runner-up Ohio, during early March.

Following those tournaments, Tech takes only four trips out of state with OVC games at Eastern Kentucky, Southeast Missouri and Jacksonville State, and a non-conference twinbill at Kennesaw State to wrap up the regular season.

All of Tech’s 15 home games take place within the span of less than a month, beginning March 17 as Tech hosts Bradley. Most of those games come in a 10-game homestand between March 31 and April 11, which includes visits by Texas-El Paso, Western Kentucky, Murray State, Tennessee State, and Eastern Illinois.

The 2009 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament is schedule for May 7-9 at the home of the regular season champion, with the NCAA Regionals the following week.

“I was excited with what I saw in the fall and I think that we've got a hard-working and extremely talented young team,” Acheson said. “We expect to contend for the championship.”