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FLORENCE – For the second time in school history, the University of North Alabama softball team has qualified for the NCAA Division II Tournament. The Lions were selected as the No. 3 seed in the South Region and will open play at 3 p.m. Friday against sixth-seeded Barry in Huntsville.
Second-seeded Alabama-Huntsville will host one of the two four-team tournaments in the South Region. The Chargers will take on fellow Gulf South Conference member West Alabama at 7 p.m. on Friday. All games in the double-elimination event will be played at Charger Field on the UAH campus. Semi-final and elimination games as set for Saturday with the championship game slated for Sunday afternoon.
On the other side of the bracket, top-seeded Valdosta State will host No. 8 Albany State, No. 4 Tampa and No. 5 Saint Leo. The winners of each regional will advance to a best-of-three series on the campus of the highest-remaining seed.
North Alabama enters the NCAA tourney for the first time since 2006 with a 39-18 record. "We are very excited about the opportunity to play in the post-season," said first-year head coach Jason Anderson. "Making an NCAA Regional was a goal of this team from the start of the season."
UNA has already set or tied seven single single-season and single-game school records at the team and individual level. Team records include most hits in a season (551), most RBI in a season (320) and most doubles in a season (102). Individually, Callie Steadman broke the single-season record for doubles with 24 heading into NCAA play. Three UNA players have also tied schools records including Breanna Riley's 18 pitching victories this year, Mallory Patterson's six RBI in one game on Feb. 24 against Southwest Baptist and Shelby Goodman's three consecutive home runs on April 14 against West Georgia.