Matesa will return as pitcher for the 2012 season
ST. LOUIS – Saint Louis head softball coach Christy Connoyer has announced the Billikens’ 2012 schedule, a 56-game slate that features eight 2011 NCAA Tournament qualifiers, eight conference champions, two teams ranked in the final National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25 poll and two others that received votes.
In addition, Saint Louis will host the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship at the Billiken Sports Center May 9-12. The top six teams in the final regular-season standings advance to the double-elimination tournament, the winner of which receives the A-10’s automatic NCAA Tournament bid.
Among the 2011 NCAA Tournament qualifiers are defending Big 12 Conference champion Missouri, which advanced to the Women’s College World Series for a third consecutive year and earned a No. 6 national ranking, and Missouri Valley Conference tournament champion Missouri State. The Billikens will face the Tigers and Bears, as well as Summit League regular-season champion UMKC and Southeast Missouri State, at the Missouri Breast Cancer Tournament.
The other six NCAA teams are Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season and tournament champion Fordham, Big Ten Conference champion Michigan (No. 17 NFCA), Atlantic Sun Conference regular-season and tournament champion Jacksonville (received votes NFCA), Missouri Valley regular-season champion Illinois State, Louisville (received votes NFCA) and Big Ten runner-up Indiana.
The Billikens open the season with tournament play on five consecutive weekends. Connoyer’s team makes its debut Feb. 10-12 at the Jacksonville Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla., taking on Jacksonville(twice), Buffalo(twice), Virginia Tech and UNC Greensboro. The Florida Gulf Coast Tournament inFort Myers,Fla., follows, with SLU set to face UT Martin, Florida Gulf Coast, Binghamton, Boston College and Delaware Feb. 17-19.
The Billikens then travel toWoodstock,Ga., to compete in Kennesaw State’s Phyllis Rafter Memorial Feb. 24-26. SLU faces Campbell, Northeast Conference regular-season champion Robert Morris, Indiana, Kennesaw State and Central Arkansas. Following the Missouri Breast Cancer Tournament in Kansas City March 2-3, Saint Louis wraps up tournament play with perhaps its toughest test atLouisville’s Red and Black Tournament March 10-11. The Bills square off against Louisville(twice), Michigan and Illinois State.
SLU plays a doubleheader at Indiana State March 13 before beginning a six-game home stand March 22 with a doubleheader against WichitaState. The A-10 schedule begins with single games against Rhode Island March 23-24 and a twinbill against perennial power Massachusetts March 25.
The Billikens play 11 of their next 13 games away from the BSC, beginning with an A-10 doublehead er against St. Bonaventure March 31. Following a home twinbill against Southern Illinois April 4,Saint Louishits the road for doubleheaders at Dayton(April 7) and Evansville(April 11), single games at Fordham (April 13-14), a doubleheader at La Salle(April 15) and a single tilt at SIU Edwardsville (April 18).
Charlottecomes to town for an April 21 doubleheader, and SIU Edwardsville visits the BSC for a single game April 25. The Billikens travel toPhiladelphiafor a second time in two weeks to play single contests atTempleApril27-28 and a doubleheader atSaint Joseph’s April 29. The regular season concludes at home with doubleheaders against Southeast Missouri State May 1 and George Washington May 5.