NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It was a good thing that the Lipscomb Lady Bisons softball team held its bracket-watching gathering in a restaurant because you could cut the tension with a knife.
The Lady Bisons had to wait until the second to last bracket was called during the NCAA Selection Show. The NCAA Division I Softball Committee revealed the 64-team bracket Sunday night on ESPNU.
When the Lady Bisons were listed in the Knoxville region pandemonium filled the air on the outdoor terrace where they were watching.
“We get to play together again,” several players shouted.
The No. 10 seeded Tennessee Lady Vols, 42-10, are hosting the regional.
“I am more excited than surprised,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “You never know what the committee is looking at when they put together the field.
“You are just crossing your fingers and waiting for your name to be called. We felt like when we saw UAB, Virginia Tech and Houston get in that we would have pretty good chance of getting in. To wait until the second to the last bracket to hear your name called is a little bit nerve-wracking."
The Lady Bisons, 39-13, will face Virginia Tech, 35-21, from the Atlantic Coast Conference at 2:30 p.m. Friday. Tennessee will play Charleston Southern, 27-31-1, at 5 p.m. Friday.
The Lady Bisons opened their season at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium with a 2-1 win over Virginia Tech Feb. 7. Kristen Sturdivant won the game with a walk-off home run.
“We are in a very good position to make a good run through the regional and make some noise,” Ryman said. “It was a game that could have gone either way and was very early in the season.
“We are both going to be very different teams than we were at the first of the season. I am sure we can pull some good things out of that. But it is going to be a different match-up this time around.”
It will mark the second trip to the NCAA Tournament for the Lady Bisons. They were last in the tournament in 2010 where they played in the Tuscaloosa Regional.
The regional is double elimination. Saturday at 1 p.m. the winner of game one will play the winner of game two. At 3:30 p.m. the loser of game one will play the loser of game two. In the 6 p.m. game the loser of game three will play the winner of game four.
Sunday‘s regional final will be played at 1 p.m. with another game at 3:30 p.m. in necessary.
The Lady Bisons were one of three Atlantic Sun Conference teams to be named to the field of 64, the first time the conference has sent multiple representatives.
All-session bleacher-back ticket packages go on sale to the public Monday at 7:30 CT online at UTTIX.com, by telephone at 865-656-1200 or in-person at the Tennessee ticket office. There is limit of six tickets per person. The package is $25 and includes tickets for all three days.
Friday, May 16
2:30 p.m. - Game 1 Lipscomb vs Virginia Tech
5:00 p.m. - Game 2 Charleston Southern vs #10 Tennessee
Saturday, May 17
1:00 p.m. - Game 3 (winner game 1 vs winner game 2)
3:30 p.m. - Game 4 (loser game 1 vs loser game 2)
6:00 p.m. - Game 5 (loser game 3 vs winner game 4)
Sunday, May 18
1:00 p.m. - Game 6 (winner game 3 vs winner game 5)
3:30 p.m. - Game 7 (if necessary)