Tennessee Softball: Vols to Begin NCAA Tournament vs Marist


Tennessee softball is once again in the NCAA Tournament. The Vols will begin with a Friday night match-up against the Marist Red Foxes in Knoxville.

While baseball remains an embarrassment, Ralph and Karen Weekly have the Tennessee softball program continuing to provide joy for Vols athletics during this time of year, as they have been doing for the better part of this century.

The softball Vols are set to host their 12 straight NCAA Regional with the No. 13 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. They will begin the tournament as the second game in their regional Friday night at 7 p.m. against the Marist Red Foxes after the Arizona Wildcats and Ohio State Buckeyes face off.

Although they draw Marist in the first game, this regional bracket is no cakewalk for the Vols. In fact, its incredibly difficult.

It’s first worth mentioning that the Red Foxes are 45-11 and won their conference, so they are a dangerous team.

Meanwhile, Ohio State is 33-18-1 on the year and has a deep rotation of pitchers that can allow it to last through the weekend.

But the Arizona Wildcats are the real story. This is a program playing in its 30th straight NCAA Tournament and one of the most storied softball programs of all time. Even as the underdog in this series, that fact counts, and it’s hard to look at them as one.

It would be like Duke getting a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Nobody would want to draw them.

Tennessee knows all too well of the tradition of Arizona after the Wildcats kept them from winning what should have been their first national championship in 2007 while Monica Abbott was on the mound.

Oh, and the Wildcats already beat the Vols 1-0 on a neutral site earlier this year, so Tennessee has lots of demons to overcome with this team.

The only thing that kept Arizona from being a team to host a regional was a brutal Pac-12 schedule, and although the Vols had a tougher schedule, it has to be acknowledged that Arizona is no pushover.

The first pitch for the Vols Friday is scheduled for 7 p.m.