Lady Toppers earn first-ever NCAA Regional bid

Kyle Williams

The WKU (41-16) softball team made school history Sunday night, earning a bid to an NCAA Regional for the first time ever during the NCAA softball selection show.

Junior infielder Olivia Watkins, who leads the team in hits, said she was still in awe moments after the pairings were announced.

“I’m nervous, shocked, and I’m very excited,” Watkins said. “Still jittery…we’ve worked hard all year long and it’s finally paid off.”

WKU (41-16) is set to face South Carolina Upstate (41-10) in the Tuscaloosa Regional in Alabama, scheduled for May 17-19.

Coach Tyra Perry said the unfamiliar opponent won’t stop the Lady Toppers from being aggressive.

“We’ve heard a little bit about them,” Perry said. “We’re just ready to compete.”

Watkins added that as long as WKU is playing its brand of softball, the opponent doesn’t matter.

“When we’re fearless, we don’t care who we’re playing,” Watkins said. “We’re going to go out there and play our hardest and fight until the last inning.”

Perry said the team has worked hard for this mark and have earned a chance to play in the postseason.

“These young ladies are awesome,” Perry said. “They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do and they deserve this opportunity.”

Perry said she is particularly excited for the group of senior Lady Toppers.

“I’m ecstatic for my group of seniors,” Perry said. “They’ve led us through so many things this year and they’re a great group of young ladies…I’m so happy for them.”

WKU is scheduled to face S.C. Upstate on May 17 at 3:30 p.m.