There is a week remaining in the regular season but the U.N.I. softball team has already clinched the Missouri Valley Conference regular season title. The Panthers improved to 20-3 in the league race and earned their first outright Valley title on Sunday with a 5-0 win at Southern Illinois.
Panther coach Ryan Jacobs says there was not much of a celebration after the clinching win. “They knew what was going on, but we didn’t talk about it, it didn’t affect us, we just went on with business as usual,” Jacobs says. He says they know the win was big, but they still have some things they want to take care of.
Jacobs says the Panthers have tried to remain consistent all season and they are focused on what lies ahead. U.N.I. will be the top seed in the Missouri Valley Tournament which begins May 10th in Carbondale, Illinois.
Jacobs says the Panthers may still need to win the tournament to get into the NCAA regionals. “I’m not sure that we have done enough just with where we sit in the RPI,” he explains. Jacobs says they just plan to take care of what they need to and hopefully that won’t come into play.
The Panthers are 37-14 overall and close out the home schedule next weekend against Illinois State.