OMAHA, Neb. (Nov. 14) - Creighton softball head coach Brent Vigness announced the Bluejays' 2013 schedule Wednesday featuring eight games against 2012 NCAA Tournament teams, including two of the top 16 national seeds from last season in No. 5 Florida and No. 9 Missouri.
After playing 27 games away from home to begin the season, Creighton returns to Omaha to host 17 home games at the CU Sports Complex over the final seven weeks of the regular season.
Creighton will also host the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Softball Championship for the first time since 2006. The Valley tournament will be played at the Complex May 9-11.
CU opens its 2013 slate with a pair of tournaments in February. The Jays begin the season against four teams that were either ranked or received votes in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) poll last year at the Kajikawa Classic hosted by Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz., Feb. 7-9.
The Jays open their season with a doubleheader on Feb. 7 against two Mountain West schools, New Mexico and San Diego State. A pair of NCAA tournament squads, Florida and Oregon State, face Creighton in a doubleheader on day two of the Classic Feb. 8. CU wraps up play in Tempe with a single game against Stephen F. Austin on Feb. 9.
Two weeks later the Bluejays travel to Conway, Ark., for the UCA Tournament hosted by Central Arkansas Feb. 22-24. Creighton battles Ball State and host UCA on Feb. 22. The Jays finish the tourney with single games against Arkansas-Pine Bluff Feb. 23 and Grambling State Feb. 24.
Creighton begins the month of March in Arlington, Texas, at the Maverick Invitational hosted by UT Arlington. The Jays take the field against Lamar and host UTA on March 1. The following day CU faces Tulsa before a seeded semifinal game. The Jays wrap up the Invitational with a final game on March 3.
The Bluejays will spend their spring break in Kissimmee, Fla., at the Rebel Spring Games, March 9-13. CU will play eight games against opponents yet to be determined.
After the tournament season winds down, Creighton begins MVC play with a three-game series at Evansville, March 16-17. The Jays then step out of conference for a midweek doubleheader at South Dakota on March 20.
Creighton opens its home schedule March 23 with a doubleheader against defending MVC champion Illinois State. The Jays and Redbirds close the series with a single game March 24.
The Bluejays then travel to Missouri for a midweek twin bill on March 26. The Tigers hosted an NCAA Tournament Super Regional last year in Columbia as the No. 9 national seed.
CU resumes MVC action with a road trip to Northern Iowa, March 29-30.
The first game of a home-and-home series against I-80 rival Nebraska kicks off the month of April as the Jays entertain the Cornhuskers on April 3 to kickoff a six-game homestand.
The Jays host MVC foe Bradley for a three-game set April 6-7 before welcoming South Dakota State for a non-conference doubleheader on April 9.
Creighton travels to Indiana State for a three-game series April 13-14 before returning to Omaha for a five-game MVC homestand. The Jays host Drake for a midweek conference doubleheader on April 17 before entertaining Southern Illinois for a three-game series April 20-21.
The team hits the road for five games in late April. CU travels to Drake to complete the season series on April 23 in Des Moines before traveling to Nebraska for its final non-conference game of the year to finish the I-80 rivalry.
The Jays travel to Missouri State Apr. 27-28 to wrap up their MVC road contests.
CU celebrates senior weekend at home against Wichita State May 4-5.
Creighton will host the MVC Softball Championship for the first time since 2006. The 2013 Valley tournament will be played at the CU Sports Complex May 9-11. The champion of the tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Championship features eight teams in a single-elimination format, with the top two seeds receiving byes into the semifinals.
The Bluejays return 11 players from last season's team that compiled a 28-25-1 overall record and finished fifth in the MVC at 15-11. Creighton finished last season with a school-record 294 runs.
Named the 2012 MVC Newcomer of the Year, CU junior Alexis Cantu set conference single-season records with 13 home runs and 34 RBI. She heads a group of six All-MVC selections from last season. Returning First Team All-MVC selections include Cantu, senior Amy Baker, junior Ellen Homan and sophomore Bri Lingl. CU's 2012 Second Team All-MVC honorees include juniors Becca Changstrom and Blair Lowe.
Cantu, a 2012 NFCA All-Midwest Region Team member, hit .357 and led the MVC with 17 home runs, an .802 slugging percentage, a .547 on-base percentage and a school record of 46 walks last season.
In the circle, Changstrom leads the Jays. She finished 2012 with a 17-13 record and a 2.38 ERA and led CU in nearly every pitching category.
The Bluejays also welcome seven freshmen to the squad in 2013.
Creighton opens its season at the Kajikawa Classic hosted by Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz., Feb. 7-9.