Lehigh Announces 2023 Softball Schedule
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – With the start of the college softball season just five weeks away, Lehigh head coach Fran Troyan has announced the Mountain Hawks’ 2023. The defending Patriot League champions will face another challenging slate this year, one that includes 10 games against 2022 NCAA Tournament teams , including Women’s College World Series runner-up Texas, five pre-Patriot League weekends of play (up one from normal years), and 16 home contests at Leadership Park.
“Every year we try to put together a schedule that will prepare us for a very competitive Patriot League season,” Troyan said. “We are optimistic that we have done that with this 2023 schedule.
“It is huge for the program that we are able to play an extra preseason tournament this season,” Troyan continued. “Softball programs in the Northeast have moved away from mid-week doubleheaders and it was getting really difficult to reach that 56-game number that we’re allowed to schedule. This year, we are getting closer. Each opportunity to compete is an opportunity for our team to grow.”
The 2023 campaign kicks off Feb. 10-11 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., with the Leadoff Classic, hosted by Alabama. The Crimson Tide have been one of the top programs in the country over the last quarter century, with 13 Women’s College World Series appearances and a national championship in 2012. Lehigh will face host Alabama twice and will also meet Georgia Southern twice, including the official season opener on Feb 10.
“Coach (Alabama Coach Patrick) Murphy has been trying to get us to come down for years,” Troyan said. “A generous donation from an alum has allowed us to make this trip. We are excited. When you play the best you get to learn quite quickly what you need to work on.”
The following weekend the Mountain Hawks will head to southeastern Virginia for five games Feb. 17-19. Lehigh will play three games in Hampton on Hampton’s home field and two in Norfolk at Norfolk State. Opponents include Georgetown, UMass-Lowell, Hampton, Quinnipiac and Wagner.
After a weekend off, Lehigh will open March at the Camel Stampede, hosted by defending Big South champion Campbell, Mar. 3-5. The Mountain Hawks will face a pair of NCAA Tournament teams in Campbell and 2022 MAAC champion Canisius and will also play two games against Furman and one against North Carolina Central in Buies Creek, NC
Lehigh will head to Florida over Spring Break with a total of 12 games scheduled across a pair of events. The Mountain Hawks will begin with seven games Mar. 11-15 at The Spring Games in Madeira Beach, where Lehigh will play single games against both South Alabama and Iowa and will face Iona three times and defending Ivy League champion Princeton twice.
The Mountain Hawks will close out Spring Break at the South Florida Showdown, hosted by USF, Mar. 17-19 in Tampa. On day one, Lehigh will face Iowa again along with host USF, a NCAA Tournament team a season ago. Two games against Marist are sandwiched around what will be the first-ever meeting between Lehigh and Texas on Mar. 18. The Mountain Hawks and Longhorns both participated in the NCAA Seattle Regional last May, but did not meet. Texas went on to win the regional and advanced all the way to the finals of the Women’s College World Series before falling against Oklahoma.
“Our pre-league schedule affords our team an opportunity to test itself against top competition, including last year’s national runner-up,” Troyan said. “Those experiences will help prepare our team for the rigors of league play.”
Upon returning from Florida, Lehigh will open his home slate with a Mar. 22 single game against Monmouth at Leadership Park. Patriot League play begins on the road, Mar. 25-26 with three games at rival Lafayette. The Mountain Hawks will then return home for five straight games, a Mar. 29 doubleheader against Penn and a three-game Patriot League set against Bucknell, Apr. 1-2.
A third meeting with Princeton is set for Apr. 5 in New Jersey and will be followed by three home games against Seton Hall Apr 7-8 at Leadership Park.
Lehigh will take a three-game trip to Colgate (Apr. 15-16) before returning to Leadership Park for a single game against Villanova (Apr. 19) and a three-game league series with Army West Point (Apr. 22-23 ). Villanova will be the seventh and final 2022 NCAA Tournament team on Lehigh’s schedule.
Following a trip to Saint Joseph’s (Apr. 26), Lehigh will travel to Holy Cross for three games (Apr. 29-30) before closing out the regular season at home when Boston University visits May 6-7. The Mountain Hawks and Terriers met in the championship round of the last five Patriot League Tournaments, with Lehigh prevailing in 2017 and 2022.
The 2023 Patriot League Tournament is set for May 11-13 on the home field of the highest seed.
Lehigh returns a pair of All-Patriot League honorees from a season ago in shortstop Carley Barjaktarovich and outfielder Emily Cimino. The Mountain Hawks will open preseason camp later this month.
Like Lehigh Softball on Facebook and follow on Twitter and Instagram for exclusive updates throughout the season.