May 8, 2006
Northwest Picked as No. 4 Seed in North Central Regional Tournament
EMPORIA, Kan. - (NCAA Tournament bracket) Northwest Missouri State softball has been selected as the No. 4 seed in the North Central Region, announced early today by the NCAA Division II Softball Committee. Northwest will take on No. 5 seed Concordia-St. Paul, champions of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Tournament. The two clubs will meet on Thursday, May 11 at 3 p.m. in the first round of the double elimination event.
Emporia State University will serve as the host site for regional play as they earned the No. 1 seed. There are 64 teams in the 2006 NCAA Division II Softball Regional Championships, an increase from 48 teams in 2005. Daily passes cost $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens and students with an ID. Regional winners will advance to the finals to be held May 18-22, at the James I. Moyer Softball Complex in Salem, Virginia.
"The girls are extremely excited because they have never experienced something like this," said head coach Susan Anderson, who is in her fourth year at Northwest. "Hopefully, we can start making this a tradition."
Northwest enters its third regional tournament in school history and the first since 1984. Northwest took second-place in the 1983 Midwest Regional in Macon, Mo., and fourth-place in the 1984 South Regional in Nacogdoches, Tex. The Bearcats will face Concordia-St. Paul for the first time in regional play and just the second time ever. Northwest defeated CSP March 22, 2003 in a 6-0 affair.
The Golden Bears of CSP were the 2005 North Central Region champs after a 4-0 blanking of host Emporia State in the championship. This season, they hold a 39-15 record and rattled off four straight wins to take the NSIC Tournament crown. Pitcher Kristen Schmidt struck out a school record 22 batters in the Championship game. She stands 22-10 on the year as the workhorse on the team.
"We haven't seen Concordia at all either playing them or seeing them play anybody else at tournaments," said Anderson. "I can only compare them to how they did last year in winning the region - it will be a big challenge for us."
Northwest joins three other conference schools in regional play, Emporia (conference champion), No. 6 Missouri Western (at-large) and No. 8 Washburn (at-large). Two entries from the North Central Conference were selected, No. 3 Nebraska-Omaha (at-large) and No. 7 Augustana (conference champion); and two from the NSIC, No. 2 Southwest Minnesota State (conference regular-season champion) and Concordia.
The Bearcats, who have posted a school-record 39-13 mark, come off a MIAA Tournament Championship appearance and finishing second in the event. It is the highest finish since the Bearcats won the title back in 1999.
"I am thrilled to be having the year we are having in just my fourth year," said Anderson about the success her team has enjoyed since she took over in 2003. "The key to our success has been balance. There has not been two or three players carrying the team, it has been lots of players coming through in the clutch. From 1-9 in the line-up, we are more solid and put pressure on the defense."
North Central Regional Pairing and Tournament Schedule
Thursday, May 11 * Day 1
Game 1 #3 Neb.-Omaha vs. #6 Mo. Western State 10:00 a.m.
Game 2 #2 Southwest Minn. State vs. #7 Augustana 12:30 p.m.
Game 3 #4 Northwest Mo. State vs. #5 Concordia-St. Paul 3:00 p.m.
Game 4 #1 Emporia State vs. #8 Washburn 5:30 p.m.
Friday, May 12 * Day 2
Game 5 Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 10:00 a.m.
Game 6 Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 12:30 p.m.
Game 7 Winner Game 1 vs. winner Game 2 3:00 p.m.
Game 8 Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 13 * Day 3
Game 9 Loser Game 7 vs. Winner Game 6 10:00 a.m.
Game 10 Loser Game 8 vs. Winner Game 5 12:30 p.m.
Game 11 Winner game 7 vs. Winner Game 8 3:00 p.m.
Game 12 Winner Game 10 vs. Winner Game 9 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 14 * Day 4
Game 13 Winner Game 12 vs. Loser Game 11 1:00 p.m.
Game 14 Winner Game 13 vs. Winner Game 11 3:30 p.m.
Monday, May 15 * Day 5
Game 15 Winner Game 14 vs. Loser Game 14 1:00 p.m.
Necessary only if Winner Game 13 defeats Winner Game 11 in Game 14
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