DURHAM, N.C. – With 85 days until the Duke softball inaugural season kicks off, head coach Marissa Young announced the Blue Devils’ 2018 schedule on Wednesday.
The 55-game campaign features 10 opponents that participated in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, including Kentucky, which advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals. The Blue Devils will play a total of 24 games at the brand new Duke Softball Stadium, as well as 23 away and eight at neutral sites.
"It’s hard to sum up the anticipation, excitement and even butterflies that everyone in our program feels about the start of Season One, with Team One,” Young said. “We are ready to get our first season under way and as you can see, we have our work cut out for us with games against SEC, Big Ten & ACC teams and 10 teams who earned their way to the NCAA Tournament last year. Our young roster will be put to the test early in the season and we continue to work hard daily at preparing them to rise to the challenge. We are extremely blessed to have the opportunity to host the ACC/BigTen Challenge right off the bat, and are looking forward to seeing what Team One can do!”
Headlined by the Wildcats, Duke’s 10 opponents who made appearances in the 2017 NCAA Tournament include ACC foes North Carolina and Notre Dame, along with the Big Ten’s Ohio State and the SEC’s South Carolina. The list rounds out with USC Upstate, Lehigh, Kent State, North Dakota State and Longwood.
Duke opens its first season in program history in Boca Raton, Fla., as the Blue Devils head south to take part in the FAU Tournament (Feb. 8-10). Young’s squad will play its first official contests with a doubleheader against Florida Atlantic on Feb. 8. The field also includes Ohio State, Michigan State and Northern Illinois.
The Blue Devils will host the ACC/Big Ten Challenge (Feb. 16-18) for their first contest at the Duke Softball Stadium, welcoming Penn State and Purdue to Durham.
From there, Duke will head back to the Sunshine State for the Citrus Classic in Orlando, Fla., from Feb. 23-25. Duke will play five games during its time in Orlando, taking on Morgan State, Kentucky, Savannah State, Harvard and Miami (OH).
Young and her squad will host the final non-conference tournament March 2-4 with the Duke Inaugural Tournament. The Blue Devils open on March 2 with a doubleheader, facing off against North Dakota State and Yale. Duke will host Lehigh on March 3 before wrapping up the tournament against Kent State on March 4.
The Blue Devils will make a trip over to Charlotte to face the 49ers on Tuesday, March 6 in their final tune-up before opening ACC play. Other non-conference midweek tilts include twinbills at Charleston (March 14) and against USC Upstate (March 28), as well as single contests against East Carolina (March 21), Coastal Carolina (April 4), Elon (April 11), NC State (April 18), Longwood (April 25) and the regular season finale against Campbell (May 6).
Duke opens its first ACC series in program history against rival North Carolina, as the Blue Devils go down the road to Chapel Hill for a three-game series against the Tar Heels March 9-11. The Blue Devils will also make ACC road trips to Pitt (March 30 – April 1), Notre Dame (April 13-15) and Virginia Tech (April 20-22).
The Blue Devils will play their first ACC home series in history March 16-18, as they welcome Boston College to the Duke Softball Stadium. Other ACC squads making their way to Durham include Louisville (March 23-25), Georgia Tech (April 6-8) and Virginia (April 27-29).
Breaking It Down…
Overall: 55 games
ACC: 24 games
Home: 24 games
Away: 23 games
Neutral: 8 games
A Season Of Firsts…
The inaugural season for the Blue Devils will mean a large number of firsts, especially when it comes to the schedule.
First Contest: Feb. 8 with doubleheader at Florida Atlantic
First Home Game: Feb. 16 vs. Penn State
First ACC Series: March 9-11 at North Carolina
First Home ACC Series: March 16-18 vs. Boston College
2017 NCAA Tournament Participants On The Slate…
The Blue Devils’ inaugural season features a challenging schedule, as they will face a total of 10 teams that are coming off an appearance in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Headlining those 10 squads are the Kentucky Wildcats, who advanced to super regional play.
Non-Conference Tournaments For The Blue Devils…
Duke will host a pair of non-conference tournaments and play two on the road in 2018. The Duke Softball Stadium will play host to the ACC/Big Ten Challenge (Feb. 16-18) and the Duke Inaugural Tournament (March 2-4). The Blue Devils will twice travel to the Sunshine State for their other two tournaments, heading to Boca Raton, Fla., for the FAU Tournament (Feb. 8-10) and Orlando, Fla., for the Citrus Classic (Feb. 23-25).
The ACC slate will open March 9-11 in Chapel Hill, as the Blue Devils take on rival North Carolina. Duke’s home ACC opener will be a three-game series against the Boston College Eagles March 16-18.
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