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Warren Arceneaux column: Changes bring new scenery for Cowgirls – American Press


The NCAA match has a brand new glance this 12 months, with the choice committee transferring clear of the follow of grouping colleges at areas in accordance with geography greater than equity.

McNeese used to be probably the most winners from the choice display, with the Cowgirls incomes a 3rd seed and a travel to the Chicago house for the regional spherical, the place the Cowgirls will play at Northwestern at the side of Notre Dame and Oakland.

The exchange of surroundings is a welcome building, one who to begin with appeared love it would happen as a result of LSU would now not be a regional host this 12 months. That ended in assumptions that the Cowgirls can be headed to probably the most closest areas at Oklahoma State, Alabama, Arkansas or Texas. Most of the folks amassed to observe the choice display at Beauxdines have been stuck off guard when the Cowgirls have been introduced as the overall faculty on the Evanston area, figuring there used to be no means they’d be despatched up to now from house.

Under the outdated gadget, McNeese’s seven earlier match appearances have been restricted to a few websites — UL-Lafayette, LSU and Texas A&M.

Each time, the Cowgirls confronted combatants they’d already noticed within the common season. The technique made sense within the early levels of the game, however because it has grown over the last 20 years, has grow to be dull and trite. Only six of the nineteen NCAA match video games in McNeese historical past have come towards combatants now not from Louisiana or Texas.

The new taste of seeding, if it holds, will lend a hand upload extra parity to the game, as lower-seeded groups get each fairer pairings and an opportunity to stand combatants who don’t seem to be accustomed to them, which might result in extra upsets.

It additionally rewards avid gamers with an opportunity to look puts and groups they haven’t noticed earlier than.

“It ‘s exciting, we had no idea where we were going and Chicago is a place most of us have never been,” outfielder Kaylee Lopez said. “It’s a chance for us to visit a brand new position and display them what we’ve were given.”

The Cowgirls have so much going for them getting into the match, having gained 9 in their ultimate 10 video games. The structure of the Southland Conference match additionally supplied a spice up to McNesse, which earned a primary spherical bye as the highest seed of the seven-member match. That allowed the Cowgirls to keep away from a sport towards the convention’s worst crew. Such video games harm McNeese’s Ratings Percentage Index rating, win or lose.

The means the bracket performed out, with a sport towards fourth seed Northwestern State and two towards convention runner-up Southeastern Louisiana, benefited the Cowgirls, who gained all 3 video games and jumped 13 spots within the RPI standings. The soar supposed the Cowgirls went from being susceptible to getting a four-seed to being in the course of the pack of 3rd seeds.

The Cowgirls completed the season 10-10 in video games towards combatants ranked Twenty sixth-100 within the RPI. Four of the wins got here towards Southeastern, with the opposite six all in nonconference video games.

Among the most important wins have been a 13-inning marathon towards UL–Lafayette, a 4-3 additional inning sport towards Alabama-Birmingham and a 1-0 win over North Texas. The latter two got here within the opening week of the season and have been a part of a 13-14 begin to the season.

Aggressive scheduling through head trainer James Landreneau paid off ultimately. Those early season high quality wins gave the Cowgirls a cast resume on the finish of the season.

Recent match historical past has been just right — McNeese has gained a sport at a regional in every of its 4 appearances since 2016 and are 2-1 in opening spherical video games when it has have shyed away from the fourth seed, beating Arizona State as the second one seed in 2016 and Baylor because the 3rd seed in 2018.

The program has made the entire proper strikes over the last few years to be in place to make extra historical past.

Landreneau speaks overtly about short of to be the primary Southland faculty to win a regional. That’s a tall order this week with a couple of nationally ranked groups within the area, however the committee can have accomplished the Cowgirls a desire through putting them with unfamiliar combatants.

The Cowgirls’ hyper-aggressive baserunning and talent to rotate 3 pitchers may purpose issues for groups who haven’t performed McNeese earlier than. The Cowgirls have just about as many steals (138) as the opposite 3 groups mixed (163).

Warren Arceneaux covers highschool athletics. Email him at warren.arceneaux@americanpress.com



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