Montgomery announces Softball's 2012 schedule
GREELEY – Even though the weather is turning chilly and snow is falling, Northern Colorado softball coach Mark Montgomery still has softball on his mind as he announced the 2012 Bears softball schedule Wednesday.
"We're excited," Montgomery said. "We get to go to some different places this year as opposed to years past and I think some new sites and new venues will be a welcome change. And, to play some of these new teams is probably a good thing for these young players."
Montgomery will begin his second season at the helm of the Northern Colorado program on Feb. 9 in Louisiana against Southern University.
From there, the Bears will continue their stay down-south with Southeastern Louisiana Tournament from Feb. 10-12. During the tournament, the Bears will play five games against tough competition, including a game against Big-12 opponent Kansas.
Next up, Northern Colorado continues tournament play when it participates in the University of New Mexico Lobo Classic beginning Feb. 17.
Perhaps one of the more interesting early-season tournaments will be the Pacific Coast Softball Conference Crossover Tournament hosted by St. Mary's College. The tournament will give the Bears an early look at some PCSC competition from the Coastal Division.
Then, over spring break, the Bears will head to Florida to play in the South Florida Tournament. Along with the five games they will play in the tournament, the Bears will also get a chance to go up against the Dutch National Team while in Florida.
"Going down to Florida over spring break is a great opportunity for us," Montgomery said. "It'll be a lot of fun to play against the Dutch National Team, and the South Florida Tournament is historically a very good tournament. We will be going up against some bigger schools like Rutgers and UMass."
Of course, perhaps the biggest games on Montgomery's non-conference schedule are the four against instate-rival Colorado State. The two rivals will face off against one another four times over the course of a month.
"Colorado State is the one constant on our schedule," Montgomery said. "It's nice that they're so close and that we set it up so that pretty much every Wednesday in April, you know Northern Colorado will be playing CSU.
"I also think the players enjoy it. We're actually going to make a trophy and start passing it around from team-to-team."
Northern Colorado kicks off PCSC play on March 31 with a four-game home series against Weber State.
The highlight of PCSC play for the Bears could be April 14, when they host Portland State in a four-game series that could have huge playoff implications. Last season, Portland State took home the Mountain Division, while the Bears finished in second.
"Having so many road games can really help a team bond. The key for us is to learn a lot when we play all these road games, so that once we get into conference play, we won't make those same mistakes. We want to be peaking come conference time."