The FGCU softball team begins the 2014 season this weekend when the Eagles host the FGCU Sheraton Invitational that runs Friday through Sunday.
The tournament includes out-of-state guests from Mississippi, Georgetown, Western Kentucky and Liberty University with 13 total games to be played at the FGCU Softball Complex.
In the first game of the season, the Eagles take on Ole Miss Friday afternoon. Mississippi finished last season with a record of 25-31 and a 3-21 mark in SEC contests.
The Eagles continue with a Friday game against Georgetown of the Big East. The Hoyas return to the field after compiling a record of 21-33 last season and brings back the bats of Alexandria Anttila and Megan Hyson who each hit .250 with 50 runs knocked in last year.
Saturday afternoon, the Eagles take on Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers return sluggers Preslie Cruce and Amanda Thomas.
The Eagles conclude is opening weekend with a game against Liberty University. The Flames finished 2013 with a record of 20-37 and a mark of 8-16 in the Sunbelt Conference and begin a new era with first-year head coach Dot Richardson, who previously won a Gold Medal as part of the 1996 Olympic Team.
The tournament concludes with three bracket-style games. The Eagles will play the fifth-ranked team on Sunday morning prior to two games played to determine a tournament champion.
As the Eagles prepared for the season, the team saw senior catcher Chelsea Zgrabik earn preseason Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive season.
Although she missed the end of her junior season to injury, Zgrabik ended last season with recognition as an NFCA All-South Region First Team member and was named Atlantic Sun Co-Player of the Year, while also picking up an A-Sun All-Conference Second Team selection. Zgrabik batted .329 with a team-leading 15 home runs and 56 RBI in 45 games.
The Eagles have a class of six talented newcomers and welcomes back 14 players from the team that finished third in the Atlantic Sun last season with a 16-7 record, and enjoyed a 36-18 overall record. This year's team features greater depth and a strong group of upperclass leaders.