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February 18, 2002

USI softball making final preparations for season opener

The University of Southern Indiana softball team is making its final preparations for its 2002 season opener this Friday, February 22. The Screaming Eagles will be traveling to Woodstalk, Georgia to participate in the Owl Classic (hosted by Kennesaw State University).

The tournament features nationally ranked teams such as Kennesaw State (3rd) and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (15th) as well as Wayne State University, which received votes in the NFCA Division II Preseason poll.

USI will play three games on Friday—Texas Women’s University (12:00 p.m.), Wayne State (2:00 p.m.), and Kennesaw State (6:00 p.m.) —before entering tournament action on Saturday. Game times and opponents for the Eagles on Saturday are to be determined. The Eagles will end their first weekend of play with a game against Texas A&M-Kingsville on Sunday.

USI is coming off a 2001 season in which it finished 36-17 overall, 16-6 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, and narrowly missed the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional Tournament. The Eagles return 14 letter winners from last season’s squad, including seven starters.

The Eagles are under the direction of first-year head coach Sue Kunkle (Bethel, Pennsylvania). Kunkle comes to the Eagles from the University of Akron, where she helped develop some of the school’s best all-time hurlers.

Players to watch for the Eagles include senior hurler Danielle Garnett (Griffith, Indiana) and junior utility player Rachel Bowling (Middletown, Indiana). Garnett earned second-team All-GLVC honors after finishing seventh in the GLVC with a team-high 122 strikeouts.

Bowling is a two-time All-GLVC performer and was selected first-team All-Region a year ago after leading the team with a .357 batting average, 49 runs batted in, 41 runs scored, and a school-record 12 home runs.

The Eagles will open their 2002 home schedule Thursday, March 21 when they hosts Brescia University.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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