May 13, 2007
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (54-5) will host NCAA Regionals for the third consecutive campaign according to Sunday’s announcement of the NCAA Tournament bracket via ESPNEWS. The Big Orange have been chosen as the No. 5 national seed and will welcome in three challenging squads to Tyson Park in the form of Southern Conference tournament champion Furman (21-34-1), North Carolina (45-19) of the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big South tourney titlist Winthrop (48-16).
North Carolina and Winthrop will face-off at 2:30 p.m. ET on Friday, May 18, while the Lady Vols and Furman will conclude the opening day’s action at 5 p.m. ET.
“It’s a tough draw for us,” Lady Vol co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. “But ever since we have been at Tennessee we have faced tough draws in the NCAA’s. North Carolina, Winthrop and Furman are all champions in their own right who will come to Knoxville hoping to advance. We need to try to play our very best against those teams before thinking about any next step in the tournament.”
If the Orange & White advance through to the NCAA Super Regionals, they would face-off against a squad from the Los Angeles, Calif., regional in a best-of-three series for a berth in Oklahoma City. 10-time national champion and No. 12 national seed UCLA (36-16) will play host to Hawaii (46-11), UC-Santa Barbara (30-21) and Loyola Marymount (45-16). UT already faced both UCLA and Loyola Marymount back during its Feb. 22-24, 2007, visit to the Palm Springs Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. The Orange & White downed the then-No. 12 Bruins, 6-1, and the Lions, 8-0 (5 inn.), respectively. Tennessee freshman Anita Manuma boasts a pair of sisters that play for Hawaii as the duo of Malamaisaua and Valana Manuma have helped the Rainbow Wahine to 46 wins and the Western Athletic Conference regular-season championship.
This visit to the “Big Dance” marks the fifth overall NCAA Regional trip (18-9 NCAA record) for the recently crowned 2007 Southeastern Conference regular-season champion Lady Vols. It is also UT’s fourth consecutive selection (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007) to the field of 64 under the guidance of co-head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly. Tennessee has made two straight trips to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla., where the Lady Vols finished third nationally in both 2005 & 2006.
Friday, May 18
2:30 p.m. North Carolina vs. Winthrop (Game One)
5 p.m. Furman vs. Tennessee (Game Two)
Saturday, May 19
1:30 p.m. Winner Game One/Winner Game Two (Game Three)
4 p.m. Loser Game One/Loser Game Two (Game Four)
6:30 p.m. Loser Game Three/Winner Game Four (Game Five)
Sunday, May 20
2 p.m. Winner Game Three/Winner Game Five (Game Six)
4:30 p.m. (if necessary) Rematch of Game Six