PROVO, Utah -- The BYU women's softball team will leave the mainland to open its 2004 season at the Hawai`i Paradise Classic Feb. 4-7. The Cougars will compete against quality teams including Hawai`i, Oregon State, Tennessee, University of Alabama Birmingham and St. Mary's.
Three of the five teams the Cougars will face in Hawai`i received votes in the USA Today/ NFCA Preseason Division I Top 25 Poll. Tennessee received 39 votes, Oregon State 23 votes and Hawai`i four votes.
Not only will the level of competition be high in Hawai`i, but also the level of distractions. It will be challenging for the Cougars along with other mainland teams to maintain focus as they are presented with many distractions, one being the three-hour time change.
"Right out of the new [BYU] indoor practice facility we're going to be tested quickly in Hawai`i," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "It's going to be a real challenge for us to come out and play well in that tournament."
BYU returns 11 letterwinners after losing six from last year's team, but will be strengthened by the play of seven newcomers (five freshmen and two transfers).
The Cougars are coming off a 14-1 fall ball season, where they played other Utah schools. The fall season provided a chance for BYU to play new recruits and see the progress the returning players have made since last season.
"Overall, I was pleased with the fall season," Eakin said. "It went by too fast, but it showed me the talent level and depth of our young team."
BYU vs. Opponent Series Records
Hawai`i: marks the first match up
Oregon State: 1-4
Tennessee: marks the first match up
UAB: marks the first match up
St. Mary's: 3-0
Schedule (Games played at the Rainbow Wahine Softball
Stadium (2,100) at the University of Hawai`i)
Feb. 4: 6 p.m. (HT), 9 p.m. (MT)
Feb. 5: 4 p.m. (HT), 7 p.m. (MT)
Feb. 6: 10 a.m. (HT), 1 p.m. (MT)
Feb. 7: 9 a.m. (HT), 12 p.m. (MT)
Feb. 7: 7 p.m. (HT), 10 p.m. (MT)