The Big Ten has released its 2021 softball schedule, providing MSU insight into what their season will look like after having their 2020 season cut short by COVID-19.
Similar to other sports starting back up during COVID-19, the schedule will be against only conference opponents as each team will face each of the other 13 Big Ten schools at least twice and in some cases up to four times.
Where the softball schedule varies from other sports is that to start the season Big Ten teams will go to Leesburg, Florida where on Feb. 26-28 and March 11-14 they will play several games against different Big Ten teams.
On Feb. 26-28, MSU will take on Northwestern, Nebraska and Iowa in double-headers on three consecutive days, and on March 11-14, they will go up against both Illinois and Minnesota in two three-game series.
After the opening games in Leesburg, the Big Ten teams will have eight more weekends of play: four home series and four away. After last playing in March of 2020, the MSU softball team is just grateful to get back on the field and get in some conference games.
“We all need to be very thankful that we’re able to play, and that we’re going to be given these opportunities,” head coach Jacquie Joseph said in a release. "We’ve seen the enthusiasm in our players – they remember the feelings from last spring when our season was cut short. I think that getting back out on the ballfield will be good for all of us, and we’re excited to get underway in a couple of weeks.”
After going 6-16 with only a few conference games in last year’s shortened season, the Spartans know this season will be different and more challenging.
“There are teams in the Big Ten that we haven’t had the opportunity to play in recent years because the scheduling matrix just hasn’t worked that way – but now, we will play all 13 teams,” Joseph said. “This is going to require everyone to be accepting of flexibility, and it will be a good lesson for everyone from the people on our staff to the student-athletes. The teams that do that better than others will have more opportunities.”
With the addition of a great incoming freshman class, headed by top recruits Faith Guidry, Macy Lee, Ashley Martin and Kayleigh Roper, the Spartans are looking at what could be a bright future for the program.
MSU’s home opener takes place on March 26 as they host Rutgers. Other home games include matchups against Penn St. on April 16-18, Purdue April 23-25 and Wisconsin May 7-9.
MSU is currently scheduled to take on rival University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on April 2-4.
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