Softball vs Tennessee Tech

The Lady Vols hype each other up before a matchup against Tennessee Tech.

The No. 12 Lady Vols head to Clearwater, Florida, this weekend to participate in the NFCA Leadoff Classic. Tennessee will play five games over the course of three days in the competition, facing four NCAA tournament teams and two Women’s College World Series participants from 2022. Here is a brief look into each of the opponents the Lady Vols will face in the tournament.


Last year, the Lady Bison finished second in the MEAC with a 17-4 conference record before winning the conference tournament and qualifying to the NCAA regional round. Howard returns six all-MEAC performers from a season ago, including five sophomore players, which proves that the Lady Bison are a program on the rise. They will look to improve on their NCAA tournament performance, where they were eliminated after losing their first two games.


The Illini also fell in two games in this year’s NCAA tournament. They lost to Arizona and Missouri State in the Columbia regional. Illinois finished 2022 with a 34-22 record, including 15 wins in Big Ten play. Infielder Avrey Steiner returns for a fifth season after posting a .391 batting average a year ago. Against SEC opponents, the Illini split two-game sets with LSU and Arkansas while also losing two games to both Missouri and Georgia.

South Alabama

The Jaguars finished 25-21 overall a year ago, recording a 16-6 record in the Sun Belt Conference. As the second seed in the Sun Belt tournament, the Jaguars went 1-2 and, as a result, did not make the NCAA tournament. South Alabama participated in last year’s Tennessee Invitational and lost to Tennessee 9-0 in six innings. Pitcher Olivia Lackie and outfielder Mackenzie Brasher were both named to the All-Sun Belt team in the preseason. The Jaguars won one game against SEC competition by beating Mississippi State 1-0 on February 26 before losing to the Bulldogs the next day.

No. 14 Texas

As part of a campaign that saw the Longhorns reach the Women’s College World Series final, Texas finished with a 47-22-1 record, going 12-6 in the Big XII. Sophomore infielder Mia Scott was named unanimously to the preseason all-Big XII team after a 2022 season that saw her record a .377 batting average and four home runs. She was also selected to the USA Softball Top 50 watchlist. Texas was selected third in the Big XII media poll behind Oklahoma, last year’s national champions, and Oklahoma State. The Longhorns needed three games to see off Arkansas in the super regional round before going 4-1 in the first portion of the Women’s College World Series. Texas was then swept by Oklahoma in the final best-of-three series.

No. 7 Northwestern

After recording a 19-4 record in conference play and winning the Big Ten regular season title, Northwestern lost in the Big Ten tournament semifinals. As part of a 45-13 overall record, the Wildcats qualified for the College World Series, including a series win over Arizona State in the Tempe Super Regional. Cather Jordyn Rudd and pitcher Danielle Williams were both named to the USA Softball Top 50 watchlist. Rudd was named last year’s National Defensive Player of the Year by Softball America. The Wildcats only met SEC competition once and defeated Missouri in ten innings.

Games this weekend will be streamed live for free on the GameChanger website and app. The Tennessee athletics app and website will also feature radio play-by-play for each game from Andy Brock.

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