Illinois softball starts season this weekend

Illini coming off 39-20 season, second straight NCAA tournament appearance

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) -- We're still in the middle of winter but the Illinois softball team is getting set for its opening weekend. The Illini will play five games in three days in Winter Springs, Florida. The town name seems fitting, with several inches of snow on the ground in Champaign.

"We are looking for an identity," Illinois head coach Tyra Perry said. "I think part of that we'll figure out as we start to play games. But I do think it's just going to be the underdogs. A lot of these kids were told they couldn't play, they couldn't play Division I and they're here and they're working hard everyday and doing their best for Illinois.

"I don't want to put any limits on it," Illinois junior pitcher and Arcola native Taylor Edwards said. "I know I did say we're young but I'm not going to say that we can't make World Series or we can't make Final Four because I know this team is capable when we all put our minds together."

The Illini are coming off a 39-20 season and a second straight appearance in the NCAA tournament under Perry. Pitching and hitting are the main question marks coming into the season after outfielder Nicole Evans and pitcher Breanna Wonderly graduated, along with shortstop Ruby Rivera.

Illinois plays Providence Friday morning at 11 a.m.


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