Plaaay Baaall!

Feb. 7, 2013

LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV Rebels open up the 2013 softball season this weekend in their own Sportco Kick-Off Classic, which will be played entirely at Eller Media Stadium. The Classic will run from Friday, Feb. 8 through Sunday, Feb. 10.

Coming to Las Vegas to join UNLV in the three-day affair are DePaul, #18/18 Louisville, Minnesota, Texas Tech and UCF. Four of the six squads - DePaul, Louisville, Texas Tech and UCF - playing in the tournament saw action in the 2012 postseason. Overall, the field owned a winning percentage of 67% (224-112) last season.

In all, a total of 14 games will be played at UNLV's on-campus facility. Five games will open up Friday's play before six contests are scheduled for Saturday. Only three bouts are featured on Sunday's docket.

SPORTCO KICK-OFF CLASSIC

Friday, Feb. 8
09:00 am	Texas Tech vs. UCF
11:15 am	Texas Tech vs. Louisville
01:30 pm	UCF vs. DePaul
03:45 pm	UNLV vs Louisville
06:00 pm	UNLV vs. DePaul

Saturday, Feb. 9 09:00 am DePaul vs. Louisville 11:15 am DePaul vs. UCF 01:30 pm UCF vs. Louisville 03:45 pm UNLV vs. UCF 06:00 pm UNLV vs. Texas Tech

Sunday, Feb. 10 08:00 am DePaul vs. Texas Tech 10:15 pm Louisville vs. Minnesota 12:30 pm UNLV vs. Minnesota

Tournament and Gametracker information can be found at - www.UNLVRebels.com.

ON DECK: The UNLV Rebels will stay at home for a second consecutive weekend with their inaugural Easton Desert Classic, which was formerly known as the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic for the previous eight years. The four-day tournament - Feb. 14-17 - will be played at both Eller Media Stadium (corners of Swenson and Harmon in Las Vegas) and Stephanie Lynn Craig Park (corners of Russell and Galleria in Henderson).

UNLV will welcome 16 other teams to Las Vegas with eight of which participated in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Two of them - Cal and Oregon - advanced to the Women's College World Series.

In all, the tournament will be comprised of four Pac-12 teams, three of which are nationally ranked in both Top 25 Preseason Polls - #3/3 Cal, #5/6 Oregon and #19/19 UCLA. Oregon State, the fourth Pac-12 participant, is receiving votes in both polls.

Both the Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) and Big West will have four teams in the Easton while the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and Mountain West have two apiece. The Mid-American Conference (MAC) and Sun Belt will each have one participant.

REBELS PICKED SIXTH: The UNLV Rebels were picked to finish sixth in this year's Mountain West Preseason Poll, as voted on by the conference's seven head coaches.

The Rebels garnered 12 total points in the poll, and the trailed first-place San Diego State, who picked up five first-place votes and a total of 35 points.

Both Colorado State and Boise State were awarded one first-place vote with the former was slotted second with 28 points to the latter's fourth-place standing and 23 points. New Mexico (15 points and fifth place) rounds out the returning teams from the 2012 season.

New to the league in 2013 are Fresno State and Nevada, Reno. FS was picked third overall behind 26 points while UNR rounds out the poll with a seventh-place showing (eight points).

DODD TAKES THE REINS: Former UCLA standout student-athlete and University of Oregon assistant coach Lisa Dodd was named the new head coach of the UNLV softball program, Director of Athletics Jim Livengood announced June 21, 2012.

Dodd spent the past nine seasons playing and/or coaching on the NCAA Division I level - four at UCLA (2004-07) and five as an assistant coach, reaching the postseason each year. Her teams have advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals six times (the Super Regionals were implemented during the 2005 season) and the Women's College World Series on five occasions. She also helped UCLA win the national championship in 2004. Overall, she owns a career record of 388-139, which translates to a .736 winning percentage.

The San Diego native came to UNLV after spending the past three seasons at Oregon (2010-12), where she helped head coach Mike White build the Duck softball program into a perennial power by achieving at least 36 wins each year and back-to-back third-place finishes in the Pac-12. After being named an assistant, she helped UO return to national prominence with a combined record of 123-55 and three consecutive trips to the postseason. The Ducks reached the NCAA Regionals and Super Regionals all three seasons before upping the ante in 2012 with a visit to the Women's College World Series and a program-best No. 5 final ranking in both collegiate polls.

Prior to her three-year stay at Oregon, Dodd was an assistant at Nevada, Reno in 2009. She helped the Wolf Pack to an overall record of 40-19 and a trip to the NCAA Regionals. UNR also garnered Prior to her three-year stay at Oregon, Dodd was an assistant at Nevada, Reno in 2009. She helped the Wolf Pack to an overall record of 40-19 and a trip to the NCAA Regionals. UNR also garnered a share of the WAC title following a 15-5 conference campaign.

After a stellar playing career at UCLA, she spent one year as a graduate assistant for her alma mater. The Bruins finished second overall in Pac-10 play en route to being the second seed in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. UCLA ended the season in Oklahoma City at the Women's College World Series.

In Westwood, Dodd was a three-time All-Region and All-Pac-10 Conference selection after she was selected as the 2003 Gatorade Prep State and National Player of the Year for University City High School. She split time in the circle and at first base for the Bruins and tallied 176 hits, 65 of which went for extra bases, 129 RBI and 89 runs. As a pitcher, she owned a record of 41-11 in 60 appearances and a total of 337.2 innings pitched. She racked up 233 strikeouts with 40 complete games in 57 starts. As a senior in 2007, she hit .369 with 14 home runs and 49 RBI and was an NFCA Second Team All-American, All-Pacific Region First Team selection and All-Pac-10 First Team honoree.

2013 SCHEDULE: The UNLV Rebels will play a total of 55 games in 2013 with 28 scheduled to be contested at home in Las Vegas and another 27 either on the road or at neutral locations.

UNLV begins the year with 11 straight and 16 of its first 21 games played at Eller Media Stadium. The Rebels will host a total of four tournaments (18 homes) at home this season while hitting the road for three (15 games).

As usual, the team begins the season with the Sportco Kick-Off Classic followed by the Easton Desert Classic, formerly known as the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic.

After hosting twice, UNLV will spend three of the next four weeks in the Golden State with trips to Cathedral City (Feb. 22-24 - Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic), Long Beach (March 8-10 - Long Beach State Invitational) and San Diego (March 15-17 - San Diego Classic II).

The Eller Media Stadium Classic (March 1-3) will interrupt the visits to Cathedral City and Long Beach while the three-day Rebel Classic (March 22-24) will close out tournament action for the regular season.

From March 27 through May 11, UNLV will play three non-conference affairs on the road - Northern Colorado (March 27) and Cal State Fullerton (April 20 doubleheader). The Scarlet & Gray has 18 Mountain West affairs scheduled the rest of that time frame with visits from Fresno State (April 5-7), New Mexico (April 12-14) and Boise State (May 3-5) and trips to Colorado State (March 28-30), Nevada-Reno (April 26-28) and San Diego State (May 9-11).

PRESEASON RANKINGS: The UNLV Rebels will face four teams that are ranked in both the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball Preseason Top 25 Polls. Oregon, who is coming off its first trip to the Women's College World Series, is the highest rated opponent on the UNLV schedule for 2013. The Ducks enter the year ranked #5 in the USA Today/NFCA Poll and #6 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball one.

Louisiana State (#10/#12), Louisville (#18/18) and UCLA (#19/19) are the other three squads that are listed in both polls.

There are three teams listed in the receiving votes categories - 10 or more votes - in each poll that will square off against the Rebels this season. In the USA Today/NFCA Poll, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech and DePaul are sitting outside the Top 25. In the ESPN.com/USA Softball rankings, Texas Tech and Virginia Tech are listed, but Tulsa swaps spots with DePaul.

OPENING WEEKEND, GAMES: The UNLV Rebels own a winning percentage of 72% (27-10-1) in home-opening weekends dating back to the 2005 season.

Dating back to the 1985 season, the Rebels own an overall record of 19-9 in season openers. UNLV has won five of its last seven (only losses in 2010 and '12), which included a run of four-straight wins (2006-09).

Dating back to 1985, the Rebels own an overall record of 24-4 in home openers. UNLV has won five of its last seven (only losses in 2012 and '12), which included a run of four-straight wins (2006-09).