- Video Gallery
FLORENCE – The release of the first set of NCAA regional rankings for the 2013 season revealed the University of North Alabama softball team as the top-ranked team in the South Region. After compiling 36-12 overall record, including a 30-9 mark against in-region opponents, the Lions lead three Gulf South Conference teams atop the poll.
Valdosta State is second, followed by Alabama-Huntsville. Sunshine State Conference (SSC) teams Tampa, Saint Leo and Rollins round out the next three while GSC member West Alabama is seventh. Barry, Florida Tech and Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) member Miles complete the Top 10.
The regional rankings determine which teams qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Conference champions from each of the three leagues in the region receive an automatic bid, followed by the next five highest-ranking teams.
The final regional poll will be released after the GSC tournament on May 5. The top two seeds will host a four-team regional May 10-12, with the winners advancing to a best-of-three Super Regional the following weekend.
North Alabama, which owns an 11-2 record against regionally-ranked teams this season, also maintained its No. 11 national ranking in the National Fast-Pitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Top 25 Poll released on Tuesday. The Lions are set to host a GSC double-header against Union Saturday at 1 p.m. in the team's home finale.