CEDAR FALLS — The Northern Iowa softball team revealed its 2018 schedule Tuesday.
The slate includes games against five NCAA tournament participants, two of which advanced to the super regionals.
The Panthers will enter the 2018 season as the defending regular season Missouri Valley Confeence champions and will look to repeat as conference champions for the first time in program history.
UNI also captured MVC regular season titles in 2000, 2012 and 2017..
“As a team, we’re very excited about the 2018 schedule” said head coach Ryan Jacobs, who is entering his 11th season. “The team has done a great job preparing for the regular season, especially with preparing and developing new players.
“The team should be very balanced this season, both offensively and defensively. We lost four seniors, but we are very confident with the way that the team is adapting to new players and roles.”
The season kicks off Feb. 9-11 with the Ramada UNI-Dome Classic. The Panthers will take on Southeast Missouri State, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, South Dakota State University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
From there, UNI will travel to Orlando, Florida, to compete in the Diamond 9 Orange Blossom Invitational, Feb. 16-18. In addition to games against Quinnipiac, UCF and George Washington, the Panthers are scheduled to face off against Kennesaw State, Stetson and Bethune-Cookman.
UNI will also take part in the Easton Bama Bash in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Feb. 23-25, where it will face off against perennial powerhouses in Alabama and Florida State. In addition, the Panthers will take on Georgia State twice.
The Panthers will take part in the Belmont Tournament in Nashville, Tennessee, March 2-4, and match up twice with both North Carolina A&T and Butler, along with single game against Belmont.
The last tournament of the regular season will see the Panthers traveling to Lawrence, Kansas, to take part in the Kansas Invitational, March 9-11. The other teams in the field will be Nebraska, Kansas, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Missouri-Kansas City and Tulsa.
The 2018 Missouri Valley Conference opener for UNI is scheduled for March 17 as the Panthers take on Bradley in a doubleheader to begin a three-game series.