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Arizona softball to host exhibition vs. U.S. Olympic team

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Japan v USA - Softball Friendly Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images

Dejah Mulipola will play at Hillenbrand Stadium this year after all.

Arizona softball will host the USA Softball Women’s National Team on Feb. 18, 2020 as a part of the “Stand Beside Her” tour in its preparation and training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the UA announced Thursday.

Mulipola, Arizona’s senior catcher, is one of 18 players on the U.S. roster. Her commitment with USA Softball means she will not play for the Wildcats in 2020, though she will return in 2021.

“I am so excited to return to Tucson, which I consider my second home,” Mulipola said in a statement. “Getting to play in the newly built Rita Hillenbrand Stadium in front of the most loyal and amazing fans in Tucson is the best feeling ever and I can’t wait to share the experience with the 17 other women on this Olympic roster! The fans are the best part about playing at Rita Hillenbrand and returning on a different team will be a bittersweet feeling because I will be on the other side. However, I am excited to take the field with Team USA and play against my college teammates as well as Coach Candrea, who I hope to make proud on this journey to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan!”

Arizona coach Mike Candrea, who won gold and silver medals as the head coach of the U.S. Olympic team in 2004 and 2008, called it an “honor” and a “great privilege” to host Mulipola and her teammates.

“We are excited to show off our newly renovated Hillenbrand Stadium and compete against the very best players in the world,” Candrea said. “It will be exciting to see Dejah Mulipola in the USA uniform and we are so proud of her adding to the list of former Wildcats that have played in the Olympic Games. I’m so very excited for Coach Ken Eriksen and the great staff he has assembled and am looking forward to our Tucson fans to pack Hillenbrand for this great opportunity for our players, fans and alumni.”

Arizona opens the regular season Feb. 7 in Tempe against Kansas at the Kajikawa Classic.