HOUSTON -- The University of Houston Softball program will participate in the 2018 Puerto Vallarta College Challenge across Feb. 15-18 at Nancy Almaraz Stadium in Mexico, Head Coach Kristin Vesely announced Thursday morning.
"We are excited to be a part of an event with such a high level of competition," Vesely said. "The Puerto Vallarta College Challenge is a destination tournament that will give our student-athletes a great opportunity to add to their life experiences with community service and international travel."
The tournament, produced by Triple Crown Sports, will feature a 10-team field split into two five-team pods between Feb. 8-10 (Session I) and Feb. 15-18 (Session II). Georgia, James Madison, Long Beach State, Louisiana Tech and Nevada make up Session I, while Houston, Ole Miss, Oregon, Rutgers and Texas comprise Session II.
Each session will start with games on Thursday with the event concluding on Saturday afternoon. Teams will play each other once. Complete tournament matchups and game times will be announced at 11 a.m. CDT Wednesday (Schedule Release).
The Cougars' participation in the tournament marks the program's first trip outside of the United States for competition.
Houston is coming off a 30-25 campaign in 2017. The Cougars, who were 12-6 in American Athletic Conference play, finished second in The American for the regular season and added a runner-up finish at The American Championship. The two finishes are both the highest respective finishes for the program as a member of the league.
PUERTO VALLARTA COLLEGE CHALLENGE
The inaugural Puerto Vallarta College Challenge was held in 2015, featuring BYU, Nevada, Northern Colorado and Southern Illinois. The tournament marked the first fastpitch games in NCAA history played outside the United States.
After 2015, Triple Crown Sports and Puerto Vallarta city officials agreed to improve Nancy Almaraz Stadium. No tournament was held in 2016 as renovations were completed. In 2017, the tournament fielded 10 teams in Auburn, BYU, Cal State Fullerton, Florida Gulf Coast, Fresno State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Washington.
With its February placement, the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge offers programs a warm-weather setting to help launch their spring schedules, while also giving fans a chance to follow their favorite teams and enjoy a memorable oceanside resort retreat and vacation.
TRAVEL & LODGING
Teams will stay at the all-inclusive Sheraton Buganvilias Resort, just a half-mile from Nancy Almaraz Stadium. Fan package purchases for the resort guarantee free admission to every tournament game. For fans who do not buy a tournament package at the Sheraton, the daily entrance fee will be $30 or $75 for a tournament pass.
For information regarding fan packages, CLICK HERE.
TRIPLE CROWN SPORTS
Based in Fort Collins, Colo., Triple Crown Sports has been producing events in youth athletics and the college ranks for more than 30 years. Triple Crown has established a national footprint with destination-friendly tournaments in baseball, fastpitch, volleyball and basketball.
The Houston Athletics Ticket Office is once again proud to offer the Shasta Pass for the 2017-18 season. For just $80, Cougar fans can purchase one Shasta Pass, which allows season-long general admission entrance to all Houston Volleyball, Soccer, Women's Basketball and Softball home games.
The Shasta Pass offers Houston fans a substantial saving as single-game tickets start at $5 for all four sports. To purchase a Shasta Pass, call 713-GO-COOGS or CLICK HERE.
JOIN DIAMOND CLUB
Fans can help support the Houston Softball program by joining the Diamond Club. To find out more information about the Diamond Club, visit UHCougars.com or call Cougar Pride at (713) 743-GOUH. For more information, CLICK HERE.