Senior Jennifer Whiteley is one of five Cougars on the 2007 MWC All-Conference team. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- For the second year in a row BYU (41-18) will be a regional host in the NCAA Women's College World Series.
"It just continues to put us on the softball map," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said of his team getting the hosting nod. "People are getting used to our name more and more."
Certainly getting used to the Cougars are the three other teams coming to Provo, which include No. 7 Arizona State (49-15), Cal Poly (39-15) and Southern Utah (29-29). BYU played Cal Poly twice this season, Southern Utah five times and ASU once.
"We've played all three teams that are in our regional," Eakin said. "All of those teams are capable of beating us. Arizona State obviously poses the biggest threat, being a World Series team from last year. We'll have to play our very best game in order to advance."
The double-elimination round begins with BYU squaring off against Big West title winners Cal Poly. The two teams split their season series this year with the Cougars taking the first matchup 7-1 in February and the Mustangs evening the score with a 2-0 victory over BYU in March.
BYU won all five of its games against SUU this season but lost its only contest with ASU in March by the score of 1-8. Senior catcher Cortney Nix-Clark said the familiarity with their opponents and their surroundings should help give the Cougars an edge in the opening round of play.
"We know what kind of teams they are, and anybody's capable of beating anybody," Nix-Clark said. "But, having our fans there, knowing how to play our field and being able to sleep in our own beds is a huge advantage for us. The biggest thing is to not overlook anybody. We can't take anybody lightly because they're going to be fighting just as hard as we will be."
Teammate and fellow senior Jodi Norton echoed Nix-Clark's sentiments saying she's happy she hasn't played her last game on her home field just yet.
"I screamed," Norton said of learning that BYU would host. "I was jumping up and down with my friends and family. I can't believe it. We've played all the teams, and we've beaten two out of three of them. I'm just shocked that we're hosting."
Tickets can be ordered by calling (801) 422-BYU1. All-session passes for adults are $20 and $15 for students and seniors. Adult single-session passes are $7 and $5 for students and seniors. Children ages one and younger will be admitted free of charge. Tickets can also be purchased at the ticket office at Miller Park prior to each game.
Regional tournament games will be played May 17-19. A noon (MST) start time and a 3 p.m. game are scheduled for Thursday. Friday will feature games at noon, 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. The championship game will be played Saturday at noon. Information on which teams will be playing at the specified times is forthcoming. The winner of the Provo Regional moves on to play in the Super Regionals from May 25-26.