The BYU women's softball team will start the 2002 season at the annual Thunderbird Canyon Park Classic held in St. George and hosted by Southern Utah Friday and Saturday. The Cougars look to defend their MWC title this season despite the loss of nine seniors from last year's team.
The Cougars will face host Southern Utah on Friday at 4 p.m. The Cougars then play a three games on Saturday facing Oregon State at 10 a.m. They will then play the University of San Diego at 2 p.m. followed by St. Mary's at 4 p.m.
Last year, the Thunderbirds stole the season-opener with a 7-5 win over the Cougars. The Cougars lost to Oregon State twice last year in the same tournament 2-3, 4-7. BYU did pick up its first win of the season over St. Mary's with a 8-5 win, led by Oli Keohohou's first collegiate home run. Last season Keohohou, known as Oli, was a First-team All-American and was one of four finalists for the Honda Award, given to the top collegiate player in the country. Keohohou and junior Brooke Cadiente, the 2001 MWC Tournament MVP, should be exciting to watch.
"We are excited to get going," said head coach Mary Kay Amicone, who was voted MWC Coach of the Year last season. "You can only prepare so much indoors and it's time to play ball."
The Cougars were picked to finish second in the MWC in the preseason coach's poll, just behind Utah. Last year the Cougar's were picked fifth and surprised the conference by winning both the regular season and the conference tournament.