Big Ten Softball Weekly Release - NCAA Super Regionals
May 21, 2014
The Big Ten will send three teams to the NCAA Super Regional round this weekend for the first time in conference history. Since the NCAA instituted the format in 2005, the Big Ten has sent two teams to Super Regionals six times (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2013).
Michigan, winners of the Tempe Regional last weekend, makes its ninth appearance in the Super Regional round. With a series win over Florida State, winners of the Tallahassee Regional, the Wolverines would make their 11th appearance at the Women's College World Series and second in as many seasons. Michigan won a pair of elimination games against host Arizona State last Sunday in Tempe, Ariz.
Minnesota, which captured its first regional title at the Minneapolis Regional last weekend, will make its first Super Regional appearance. The Gophers won the Big Ten Tournament title and hosted an NCAA Regional for the first time since 2002. Minnesota will take on top-seeded Oregon in a three-game series that gets underway on Saturday.
Nebraska, which advanced to the Women's College World Series last season, defeated host Missouri twice on Sunday in the Columbia Regional to collect its second straight regional title. The Huskers will be seeking their eighth trip to the Women's College World Series and their first back-to-back WCWS appearances since 1987 and 1988. Nebraska's Super Regional series at Alabama will begin on Thursday.
SUPER REGIONAL STORYLINES
Michigan advances to its ninth NCAA Super Regional, while Minnesota makes its first appearance in program history. Nebraska is set to make its second straight trip to Super Regionals. All three teams won their respective regionals last weekend.
Michigan's Sierra Romero captured Big Ten Player of the Year honors for the second straight season, Minnesota's Sara Groenewegen became the first Golden Gopher to collect both Pitcher and Freshman of the Year honors in the same season, and Nebraska's Rhonda Revelle was tabbed the Big Ten Coach of the Year. In addition, Romero was named one of three finalists for the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year.
Michigan's Megan Betsa and Minnesota's Sara Groenewegen are among the top 10 finalists for the inaugural NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year Trophy.
Thirty-eight Big Ten standouts were named NFCA All-Region performers, including 14 first-team honorees: Michigan's Taylor Hasselbach, Sierra Romero, Nicole Sappingfield and Haylie Wagner, Minnesota's Kaitlyn Richardson and Sara Moulton, Nebraska's Hailey Decker, Tatum Edwards, Taylor Edwards and Emily Lockman, Northwestern's Brianna LeBeau, Purdue's Tori Chiodi and Andie Varsho and Wisconsin's Mary Massei.