17 Sep

SB : Syracuse to open home schedule with historic two games inside Carrier Dome

first_img Comments Published on March 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Nick: [email protected] | @nicktoneytweets Facebook Twitter Google+center_img After an email from the Alabama athletic department planted the idea in Leigh Ross’ mind in 2006, she became captivated with the thought of the Syracuse softball team hosting a game inside the Carrier Dome.For the Syracuse head coach, the opportunity was too unique to pass up, especially when the Crimson Tide was offering to travel north for a three-game series. So Ross, then in her first season at the helm, promised to make the Carrier Dome host Orange softball one day.‘I didn’t even know we were practicing inside, so that email from Alabama was the first bug I got,’ Ross said of the email.It took almost six years, but Ross’ dream will finally take place this weekend. SU will play two games this weekend in the Carrier Dome – the first softball games played in Syracuse’s iconic arena.Though the Duel at the Dome tournament will feature Colgate and Canisius as the Orange’s opponents instead of an Alabama tripleheader, SU decided to take advantage of an early bye week in its Big East schedule to host the games inside.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOn Thursday, the crew at the Carrier Dome will transform the football and lacrosse field into a softball diamond for two games this weekend. Syracuse will play indoors for its first home game of the season Friday when it takes on Colgate at 7 p.m. The Orange will play the second game against Canisius on Saturday at 6 p.m.‘We don’t get to play too many home games because of the weather,’ Ross said. ‘I think players are excited to have friends and family come be a part of something like this.’Ross said SU plans on making the Duel at the Dome an annual tournament. Next year, the Orange anticipates hosting teams earlier in the nonconference schedule when the weather makes outdoor games impossible.Even though SU could play outside this weekend in the unseasonably warm weather, second baseman Stephanie Watts is excited to be part of the first home game in the Carrier Dome.‘The weather isn’t traditionally like this in March,’ Watts said. ‘We love to play outside, but I think this can be a great jumping off point for SU going forward. The Carrier Dome is such a landmark here, so I think it’s awesome for everyone involved.’Watts said that if Syracuse plans to make the Duel at the Dome an annual event, freshmen players may get the most from SU’s first Dome game. She said that younger players can get a feel for the Carrier Dome early. Then they can use that knowledge to their advantage against opponents later to establish a home-field advantage at the Dome.This Orange team may not yet know how the ball bounces on the Carrier Dome turf. But if this weekend is as big a success as Ross hopes, that knowledge could come in handy against marquee opponents.Catcher Lacey Kohl doesn’t want this game to be a novelty. The softball program can use the games this weekend to gain more national attention, and it has shown that the athletic department is devoting more attention to the softball program.‘It really means a lot that everything they’re doing is geared toward making the Dome more softball-friendly,’ Kohl said. ‘Even small things like screwing the bases into the turf make a difference. That’s what softball schools do.’What’s good for traditional softball powers should be good for the up-and-comers like SU. Two weeks ago, the Orange defeated three ranked opponents at the Citrus Classic tournament in Orlando, Fla. The team has also played Arizona, UCLA and California – three elite softball programs.A successful Duel at the Dome could mean more emails in Ross’ inbox from those teams about traveling to play SU for a change.‘I think ultimately it brings more attention to our program,’ Ross said. ‘It’ll be neat for the girls to play in this game.’[email protected]last_img

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