UNI and Drake open the Missouri Valley Conference softball tournament in Peoria today. The Panthers are the third seed and open Thursday night against the winner of the game between Bradley and Missouri State. It is UNI’s first appearance at the tournament since 2002.
UNI coach Ryan Jacobs says they are playing together and are confident and excited to be in the tourney for the first time. He says his team has played like there is no pressure and he wants that to continue. Jacobs says they continue to do the things they’ve done day in and day out in practice. He says fun comes when you are playing focused and locked in and that will happen.
The 15-11 record in conference play is the best Valley record the Panthers have ever had and Jacobs says they are confident they can compete against every team. He says that’s huge as they haven’t had a lot of success against conference teams in the past. Jacobs says the Panthers have been very good on the road this year.
Jacobs says everything is mapped out on the road and it is a lot easier to prepare for the games. Drake is the fourth seed and opens Thursday afternoon against the winner of the game between Indiana State and Illinois State. The Bulldogs are the defending champions.