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Third-year IUP softball coach Shawna Bellaud announced her program’s 2021 schedule earlier this week.

The spring season for Bellaud and the Crimson Hawks will look different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, the NCAA reduced the maximum about of softball games for Division II to 44 for this season. Health and safety regulations by both IUP and potential opponents have limited travel and have effected games within and between some conferences.

The Crimson Hawks have 36 games split amongst 18 doubleheaders. A majority of those games are against their divisional foes, playing four-game home/away sets against each of their seven PSAC West opponents. The Hawks also have two doubleheaders against teams from the PSAC East.

IUP opens the year the weekend of March 5-6 against Slippery Rock, with the home opener coming on Saturday. The Crimson Hawks follow with weekend divisional series the rest of the month: California, Mercyhurst and Seton Hill.

The remainder of the divisional series throughout April and to start May are Pitt Johnstown, Edinboro, Gannon and Clarion. IUP will play crossover doubleheaders against Shippensburg (April 6) and Millersville (April 19).

The 2021 PSAC Championships are scheduled for May 5-8 in Quakertown, Pa., with the top four seeds in each division selected to participate.

Spectators to Ruth Podbielski Field are asked to keep socially distant from each other, participating teams, student-athletes, school officials and other game day personnel. When not able to socially distant, spectators should wear masks.

Golf team receives national consideration

The IUP men’s golf program is one of several teams receiving votes in the latest Division II Bushnell/Golfweek Coaches Poll, released recently.

The Crimson Hawks are the 16th team listed outside the top-25 with 21 points in the voting. Missouri-St. Louis is ranked 25th with 96 points.

IUP is the only team from the Atlantic Region that shows up in the top-25 or the receiving-votes category. Also, the Hawks are the highest ranked among those teams in the Northeast, with St. Thomas Aquinas (N.Y.) receiving two points in the voting.

The Crimson Hawks finished their abbreviated 2019-20 season as the No. 1-ranked team in the Atlantic Region. They return three PING All-Atlantic Region golfers, including Shaun Fedor, who was last year’s Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Golfer and Freshman of the Year.

After pandemic forced the cancelling of sports during the fall semester, the Crimson Hawks will return to the course this spring. They will release their schedule soon.