March 14, 2008
By Kyle Herm
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois softball team hosts Northern Iowa this Saturday and Sunday, March 15-16 at Charlotte West Stadium to begin Missouri Valley Conference play.
The Salukis enter the weekend with a 12-11 record after playing in five pre-conference tournaments, while the Panthers hold a 10-9 mark after competing in four tournaments.
SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock said that the team's pre-conference schedule has helped prepare them for what will be a tough MVC season.
"Our approach now that we're done playing in tournaments is that it's a new season," Blaylock explained. "Our non-conference schedule was very tough, but ultimately it should really help us prepare for conference play beginning this weekend."
Southern Illinois played six games against four teams currently ranked in the top 25 in the nation, along with one receiving votes, in its five non-conference tournaments to begin the year.
The Salukis have faired well in MVC opening games, holding an all-time record of 14-1 since joining the league in 1993.
Southern Illinois leads the all-time series with UNI, 59-20, and won all three games against Northern Iowa a season ago in Cedar Falls.
SIU was picked to finish third in the MVC in the preseason coaches' poll, while UNI was picked to finish last.
All three games in the weekend's series will be available on GameTracker by accessing the softball schedule page on SIUSalukis.com.
The games will also be available to watch live through DawgWatch.TV. For more information, click on the link below.
The series begins on Saturday, March 15, with a doubleheader beginning at 12 p.m., followed by a single-game on Sunday, March 16 at noon.