It's a chilly December day here in College Park so to get you all thinking a little bit about spring (and yes, I know we haven't even reached the first official day of winter yet), I thought I'd give you all a peak at Maryland's softball schedule which was officially announced on Monday. At first glance, it looks as though the Terps have put together a blend of strong and moderately strong teams in this season's slate. I plan to have a more detailed team preview as the season approaches. For now, here's a look at the schedule:
Coach Laura Watten had led the Terps to a program record three consecutive NCAA appearances before failing to make the tournament last season. Maryland ended their 2013 slate with a 31-26 record while finishing 13-8 in league play. This was good enough for a fourth place finish ACC. However, a dearth of quality wins combined with a weak out of conference schedule and an early exit from the ACC Tournament kept them from a fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament.
The way the schedule falls this season, the Terps will have to play well early and earn a few quality wins to build up their RPI ranking. The early schedule features six teams that finished in the top fifty of last year's RPI and another three from the top one hundred. The ACC is generally a middle of the pack RPI conference and Maryland's four late season out of conference opponents should be among the weakest teams on their schedule as they all finished in the bottom two hundred last season.
Maryland will spend the first moth of the season on the road opening with a tournament in Miami the weekend of February 7. The following weekend in Boca Raton, the Terps will face the first two of ten opponents who played in last season's NCAA Tournament. The Terrapins will play their home opener on March 7 when they host Princeton after a trip to Palm Springs and a return to Florida. The season opening tournament will benefit UMTTR (You Matter) an organization that raises awareness about teen depression and with whom the Terps volunteered in the offseason.
Following the Maryland Invitational, the Terps will open ACC play when they host Georgia Tech the weekend of March fifteenth. Maryland will conclude their final season in the ACC as the host school for the ACC Tournament May seventh through May tenth The full schedule is here: Maryland Softball Schedule.