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    Ladyjacks Set For Season Opener
    Monika Covington is one of five Ladyjacks named to the preseason All-Southland Conference team
    Monika Covington is one of five Ladyjacks named to the preseason All-Southland Conference team

    Feb. 11, 2010

    NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack softball team will open the 2010 season Friday when the Ladyjacks begin play in the Mississippi State Bulldog Round-Robin. SFA will take on North Texas Friday, then play a doubleheader against UAB and Mississippi State on Saturday before wrapping up tournament play Sunday against an opponent to be determined.

    The Ladyjacks' game against North Texas is set for a 1 p.m. start and is the first of three contests against the Mean Green over the next six days. SFA will host North Texas in a doubleheader next Wednesday to open the new Ladyjack Softball Field.

    Friday's game will kick off a season of high expectations for SFA. The Ladyjacks are projected to finish second in the Southland Conference after returning a slew of all-conference honorees from the 2009 campaign. SFA leads the Southland with five preseason First-Team All-SLC selections - Kayla Gutowski, Briana Bishop, Ashley Struchtemeyer, Kendal Harper and Monika Covington. Harper, Covington, Bishop and Gutowski were all first-teamers in postseason balloting a year ago, with Gutowski taking the Hitter of the Year tag.

    SFA is coming off a 29-27 season in 2009. The Ladyjacks went 17-12 in Southland play to finish fourth in the conference. North Texas posted a 26-28 record last year and finished fifth in the Sun Belt Conference with an 11-12 mark. UAB went 21-34 overall last season and had an 8-16 record in Conference-USA to finish eighth. Mississippi State is coming off a 2009 season that saw the Bulldogs go 28-28 overall with an 8-19 record to finish fifth in the SEC West.

    Mississippi State will provide live stats online for all tournament games this weekend. To access the live stats page on the Mississippi State Web site, click here.

    -- SFA --