The Simpson softball team and first-year interim head coach Kyle Owens begin the 2016 season Friday, Feb. 26 at the Finlandia Dome Tournament in Marquette, Mich. The Storm open up against No. 25 Wis.-Oshkosh at 7 p.m. CDT at the Superior Dome.
Fans can listen to all seven games online at SimpsonAthletics.com.
Schedule (central time listed)
Friday, Feb. 26 - vs. No. 25 Wis.-Oshkosh, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 27 - vs. Alverno, 7 a.m.
Saturday, Feb. 27 - vs. Edgewood, 1 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 27 - vs. Marian (Wis.), 3 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 27 - vs. Lakeland, 5 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 28 - vs. Concordia (Wis.), 7 a.m.
Sunday, Feb. 28 - vs. Wis.-Superior, 12 p.m.
Dome Sweet Dome
The Dome has been kind to the Storm in recent years, as Simpson is 18-1 in Marquette since 2013. The only loss was a 4-3 setback to Oshkosh in 2014. In the seven years Simpson has been attending the season-opening tournament, the Storm are 32-11.
Changing of the Guard
The Storm return five starters and four pitchers from last year's team that finished 31-12 and made the regional round of the NCAA Tournament. Owens takes over for long-time skipper Henry Christowski, who retired in the offseason. Brent Matthias is the head coach in-waiting and will take over the team in 2017.
Simpson is poised to make another push for postseason play behind a verteran pitching staff that features all-Iowa Conference hurler Riley Fisher and the team's ERA leader from a year ago, Abbie VanVleet. Last year's offensive leaders Tori Haag and Rachel Guessford are back after accounting for a combined 16 home runs and 67 RBIs, and first team all-Iowa Conference outfielder Brianna Chaplin looks to pick up where she left off late in the 2015 campaign. The sophomore hit .385 with four home runs and 19 RBIs in just 52 at-bats as a rookie.