Softball team wins first postseason game in FGCU history
Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 15:06
FGCU softball did something that three other FGCU sports did this year; they qualified for the NCAA tournament.
They became the fourth FGCU sport to qualify for the NCAA tournament in their first year of postseason eligibility.
However, they weren’t like the others.
They defeated the University of Florida 2-1 for their first NCAA Tournament win in team history.
The A-Sun Tournament MVP and A-Sun Pitcher of the Year freshman Shelby Morgan picked up her 23rd win of the season, shutting down the Florida offense. She allowed just five hits.
She allowed five hits and four runs in 4.2 innings pitched when FGCU faced Florida on Feb. 12. They lost that game 5-0.
“Shelby pitched a great game,” head coach David Deiros said. “She had faced Florida earlier in the year, but that was only her second start of the season. She was more prepared for this start because by this point she had won 20 games.”
FGCU swept through the A-Sun tournament beating Jacksonville, Stetson and Kennesaw State by a combined score of 19-4.
By making the tournament, Deiros felt a sense of vindication. “The last four years, we were not allowed to play in the tournament due to NCAA rules, and due to where we finished in the conference standings, we would have been eligible for tournament play.”
Despite earning the upset victory in the first round, the job was not over yet. They faced the University of South Florida in the second game of the regional. USF beat FGCU 4-2 in the first game of the season Feb. 10.
Unfortunately, the magic ran out for the Eagles. They dropped the first game to USF 8-3 and then lost to Florida 6-2 in the elimination game.
“They both played real well, the University of Florida persevered to make it to Sunday after going into the loser’s bracket right away,” Deiros said. “I want to congratulate my team. I couldn’t be any prouder of them. If early in the season you would have told me that we would be A-Sun Champions and we’d be in Regionals, beat Florida and had a chance to go on to the Regional Finals, I would have thought you were crazy because we weren’t playing well early. But that’s a testament to how well our kids turned things around, and I couldn’t be any prouder of them.”
Despite the early exit, the season was no failure. FGCU won 38 games this season, the second most in history since moving to division one. Also, FGCU only loses one senior from this year’s team.
Despite the team’s early tournament exit, Deiros feels very good about next season. “If we take lessons from this year, there’s more preparation. If we approach next year the way we are supposed to, the sky’s the limit for us.”
Workouts for next season will begin in August and full practice will start in January.