The unbeaten Florida Gators (11-0) are off to the other side of the country to put their perfect record to the test in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
Florida will play UCLA and NC State on Thursday, Washington and Nebraska on Friday, and Utah on Saturday.
For a good amount of the ladies on the Gators’ roster, this will be a trip back to their homes and families in California. This trip is always a selling point for head coach Tim Walton when he recruits out west.
“This is one of the things we do in the recruiting process. When we're talking to individuals who are from out west, we tell them that we take this trip every year,” said Walton. “This is not only so their families can see them play live, but it's also a chance for us to play against some great competition."
Although the Gators’ competition hasn’t been so stiff yet – Florida has won their first 11 games by a combined margin of 90-4 – they are looking forward to the challenge.
"This will be as challenging of a weekend as we've had in a long, long time,” Walton said. “Just looking at the teams we play and how good they are will be a great test. The few runs that most of them give up and how many they are all capable of scoring presents a great overall test for us, not only for our offensive, but defensively as well."
Friday’s 6 p.m. matchup with Washington will be the highlight of the Classic. Washington received a first-place vote in the most recent USA Softball/ESPN.com weekly poll.
Now is the chance for Florida to deem itself the true No. 1 team and write off any doubters – at least until the postseason.