LEXINGTON (KT) — Making the NCAA Tournament has been a routine for the Kentucky softball team.
The Wildcats (30-20-1) will be making their 14th consecutive appearance competing in the Northwestern Regional. Kentucky will be paired with the host Northwestern and joins Miami of Ohio and Eastern Illinois in the four-team tournament.
Kentucky is the No. 2 seed in the regional behind Northwestern and will take on third seed Miami at 1 p.m. Friday in the first game of the four-team regional. Host Northwestern will play Eastern Illinois at 3:30 p.m. Friday in the second game of a doubleheader.
The double-elimination format regional will be played Friday-Sunday at Northwestern.
“It is a good draw because we get to stay close to home and I like that,” said Rachel Lawson on Sunday. “Northwestern is very good. I think they are underrated. They could have been a top 8 seed (not No. 12). Miami (Ohio) is also very good and I am excited for Eastern Illinois who has a terrific coach. It’s a very competitive pool.”
Overall 11 teams from the SEC qualified for the tournament and Kentucky won’t play conference foes on the opening weekend.
“I think it is fun when you get to play teams from other leagues,” Lawson said. “You have battles in the SEC all the time. The further you advance, you will be matched with SEC teams. I love going across conferences. It adds a lot of excitement for the tournament.”
Tennis team reaches Elite Eight
The Kentucky tennis team will compete in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament after defeating Stanford 4-3 Saturday at the Boone Tennis Center. Kentucky makes a return trip to the nationals, which will be held in Orlando, Florida.
“They love each other. It’s a family,” Kentucky coach Cedric Kauffmann said. “We’re always together and we just don’t want it to end. We wanted to get to Orlando and maybe get one more match than last year … 'It feels good. I’m just happy for the boys and happy for our program. Maybe we can get one more match than last year.”