A season of firsts for the West Liberty University softball team continued Monday morning as WLU earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Tournament and will host the Atlantic 1 Regional event Thursday through Saturday at the West Liberty Softball Complex.
Coach Herb Minch’s Mountain East Conference champion Hilltoppers (36-17) will make their NCAA Division II Tournament debut at noon Thursday against No. 8 seed Lock Haven (31-17), a two-time national champion that earned its berth by winning the PSAC Tournament title. The second game of the day is set for a 2:30 p.m. start between No. 4 seed Shepherd (38-16) and No. 5 seed Concord (38-19).
West Liberty carries plenty of momentum into the NCAA Tournament, having won 18 of its last 21 games – including a 4-game sweep at this weekend’s MEC Tournament in Salem, Va. Making their late-season surge even more impressive is the fact that the youthful Hilltoppers have only one senior and one junior on their entire roster.
“I am so proud of these young ladies,” Minch said. “Not only have they given themselves a great opportunity through their hard work and dedication, they’ve handled their success with a maturity beyond their years. We’re thrilled to have been selected as a regional host and looking forward to getting back out on the field and facing our next challenge.”
The Atlantic 2 Regional will be hosted by No. 2 seed West Virginia State (33-14). The Yellow Jackets open against CIAA champion and No. 7 seed Winston-Salem State (32-11) on Thursday with No. 3 seed West Chester (34-19) and No. 6 seed Gannon (30-14) colliding in the second game.
A total of 64 teams were selected for the 2019 NCAA Division II Softball Tournament with the field broken down into 16 four-team regional sites in a double-elimination format. The 16 regional winners will advance to the super regionals, slated for May 16-17.
The NCAA Division II Softball Championships will be held May 23-27 at the Regency Athletic Complex in Denver. Metropolitan State University of Denver will be the host institution.
NCAA Division II Tournament
Atlantic 1 Regional
(West Liberty, W.Va.)
Thursday, May 9
Game 1: #1 WEST LIBERTY (36-17) vs. #8 Lock Haven (31-17), Noon
Game 2: #4 Shepherd (38-16) vs. #5 Concord (38-19), 2:30 p.m.