Moccasins' Next Stop Will Be Valdosta; Super Regional Begins Friday
Florida Southern had to wait an extra day to find out, but the Moccasins now know they'll be traveling to Valdosta, Georgia for the NCAA Division II South Super Regional. Top-seeded Valdosta State will host the best-of-three series this weekend, beginning with a single game on Friday. Game two will be Saturday, followed by a third game if necessary. Friday's game begins at 6:00 p.m., with Saturday's action getting underway at 1:00 p.m.
Adult daily tickets are $5, with student, senior and youth tickets priced at $3. For fans unable to make the trip to Valdosta, live stats will be available, as well as a live webcast provided by Valdosta State. For more information, visit the VSU South Super Region homepage.
The Moccasins (39-16) were seeded 6th in the 8-team South Region Tournament and won their half of the bracket by defeating Barry in the first round, and West Alabama in their next two games. The Mocs' 3-1 win over West Alabama on Sunday put them in a Super Regional for the first time since the NCAA adopted the new regional format in 2009.
The other half of the South Region bracket was being played in Valdosta, and came down to the top-seeded Blazers and 4th-seeded Rollins on Sunday. After two innings, however, the game was suspended due to rain and did not resume until Monday morning. Rollins ended up winning 3-0 behind a 2-hit shutout by Hope Bitzer and three runs in the bottom of the fifth scoring on an RBI double by Monica Meadows and 2-run homer by Krista Rodden; but Valdosta State (51-4) rebounded in the if-necessary game that followed, and clinched its spot in the Super Regional with a 1-0 victory, as Courtney Gunby pitched her first shutout of the season and Morgan Johnson delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the third. Each team had just four hits in the deciding game.
Florida Southern is making its 20th appearance in NCAA postseason play, and the Moccasins' 64 NCAA playoff wins rank second in Division II history. Only Bloomsburg (PA) with 87 has won more. The Moccasins are seeking their ninth regional title, a number matched at the D-II level by only Bloomsburg with 11, and Kennesaw State (GA), which won nine before making the move to Division I. This will be the 15th time in 20 trips to the postseason that the Moccasins will either win the region or finish as runner-up. The Mocs have also appeared in three national championship games, finishing second in 1987 and 2004, and winning the Division II national title in 1993.
The Moccasins and Blazers have met twice before during the NCAA Tournament, with Valdosta State winning a 2-1 decision in Lakeland in 1994, and Florida Southern winning in Valdosta, 6-0 in 2007. The 2007 season also marks the last time Florida Southern won a regional crown, with the Mocs sweeping through the tournament hosted by Valdosta State before going on to a fourth-place finish at the national tournament in Akron, Ohio. It's one of four regional titles Florida Southern has won on the road.
Valdosta State is the nation's top-ranked team and is one of six #1 seeds to advance to the Super Regionals. Midwest #1 Indianapolis was ousted on Saturday after going 1-2, and Central #1 Minnesota State was knocked out Sunday after going 2-2. Since the format was adopted in 2009, a #1 seed has won 17 of the 24 Super Regionals held, but there has been one #6 seed to win. It happened in 2010, when Molloy (NY) won the East Region by coming back to win two games on Saturday after dropping the opener to top-seeded New Haven. That's also one of 10 times a team has won a Super Regional after losing the first game, something that's happened twice in the South.
Alabama-Huntsville won the first South Super Region in 2009 over Valdosta State by winning the first two games. In 2010, however, Valdosta State came back to win the series over Arkansas-Monticello, and Alabama-Huntsville did the same over West Alabama last season.
After this weekend, the eight Super Region winners will meet in Louisville, Kentucky for the Division II National Tournament, May 16-19. First-round pairings are pre-determined, with the South Region champion playing the winner of the West Region. The West Super Region features top-seeded Cal State-Dominguez Hills against defending national champion Cal-San Diego.
Florida Southern and Cal-San Diego are two of the lowest seeds remaining in the tournament. Both advanced through the first weekend as #6 seeds. Still alive as #7 seeds are St. Joseph's (IN) in the Midwest, and Flagler in the Southeast.