Saints No. 1 Again, Set to Open Dahlonega Regional
– The only undefeated team in all of NCAA softball, North
Georgia (45-0), completed its regular-season streak of topping the
NFCA Division II Top 25 poll on Wednesday, when it was chosen as
the No. 1 team in the country for the 11th time this season, with
the last 10 being unanimous selections.
The Saints enter the 2010 NCAA Tournament with an automatic bid from the Peach Belt Conference, capturing their second straight regular season and tournament championship.
The defending Southeast Regional and Super Regional Champions will look to Sarah Phillips to lead the Saints as the junior hurler is 38-0 on the year with a 0.79 earned run average and 248 strikeouts in 247.0 innings of work. She leads the country in shutouts with 20, blanking opponents in six straight games until the PBC tournament title game.
Seniors Leslee Smith and Laura Voyles are hitting .364 and .331 respectively with 11 home runs apiece, while freshman Lauren Dykes leads the team with a .400 batting average.
Heading into this weekend’s NCAA Regionals, the top five teams in the country will feature all five of last week’s teams, just in a slightly different order. Valdosta State (42-6) remained at second for the fourth consecutive week, while Hawaii Pacific (41-6) moved up one to third. Metro State (46-4) stayed at No. 4, after tying with Hawaii Pacific last week, while Midwestern State (50-8) dropped from third to fifth.
All 25 ranked teams and all 10 teams that received votes will compete in one of 16 NCAA Regionals this weekend, accounting for over half of the 64 team field.
The NFCA Division II Top 25 Poll is voted on by 16 NCAA Division II head coaches, two representing each of the eight NCAA regions.
The Saints are set to host their second straight Regional as the four-team tournament at North Georgia will be one of two host sites in the Southeast Region as Lenoir-Rhyne will host four teams as well. The winner of each regional will advance to the NCAA Super Regional May 21-22, with the Super Regional champion advancing to the NCAA Division II College World Series in St. Joseph, Missouri, May 27-31, at Heritage Park.
Tickets are $10.00 each session for adults and $5.00 each session for students, while children under three are admitted free with a paying adult.