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IU to travel back to Duke for Big Ten/ACC Challenge


The IU softball team huddles March 16 before a game against Northwestern. IU lost to Northwestern, 5-0. Sarah Zygmuntowski

The beginning of the 2019 campaign for IU softball went as good as anyone could’ve imagined. 

IU started the season with 14-straight wins, which included a clean 4-game sweep in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge against Duke University and Syracuse University in February.

With the full 2020 schedule still yet to be announced, it was revealed earlier this week that the Hoosiers will see the same opponents in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. IU will face Duke and Syracuse on Feb. 14-16 in Durham, North Carolina.

It’ll be the third time that IU will participate in the challenge. In 2018, IU went 1-3 in the series with two losses to Georgia Tech University. After losing to Boston College 0-4 in the first game, IU won the second matchup 8-3 to pick up its first victory of the season.

The turnaround from 2018-2019 for the team was a 10-win differential. IU went 26-30 in 2018 but went 36-21 last season, which is the most wins since 2011. Its 26-8 nonconference mark was the best since 1986.

Under IU Coach Shonda Stanton in her second year, IU spent six straight weeks in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, reaching as high as No. 16 after starting the season a program-record 14-0.

IU was on the verge of a NCAA Tournament appearance, but a quarterfinal loss to Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament knocked IU on the wrong side of the selection committee.

Only three of the 23 players on the roster last season were seniors, so the Hoosiers should have a talented and deep team for the 2020 season.

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