The Lady Demons (14-7) and Crimson Tide (19-5) meet in a first-round regional match at 1 p.m. on May 10, following the other regional semifinal between Florida State and Memphis at 10 a.m.
The winners of each first-round match will move on to the second round on Saturday at one o'clock and will compete for a chance to advance to the Round of 16, hosted by Illinois in Urbana, Ill. beginning May 17.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament,” said Lady Demon senior captain Andrea Nedorostova. “It is a great accomplishment to make it this far and I am very happy. I think it is good to play a big school like Alabama because we have nothing to lose, we just have to give our best effort.”
This will be the second NCAA appearance for Nedorostova and assistant coach Olga Bazhanova and the eighth overall for head coach Patric DuBois who made six appearances with the Texas Arlington men's and women's teams. Nedorostova and Bazhanova were in their freshman and sophomore seasons the last time the Lady Demons earned an NCAA bid in 2010.
“I think this year is even more special than my freshman year was for me,” said Nedorostova. “Being the senior captain and winning the clinching match in the Southland Tournament, I cannot even describe the emotions.”
With just one senior and one junior, the team has relied on their younger athletes to compete at a high level all season long. Sophomore Tatiana Larina notes how exciting it is to have the hard work finally pay off.
“I just cannot describe this amazing feeling; how it feels to be a winner, to be a champion,” Larina said. “We have all worked very hard to get here and we deserve this success. I am very excited for the NCAA's; I am ready to play and ready to win. I don't care what team we are playing, I will just play my game and do my best like I always do.”
The regional schedule flip-flopped Wednesday due to NCAA rules, which state that the host team must play in the second match of the day. Officials Tuesday initially set a 1 p.m. time for the NSU-Alabama match with FSU-Memphis following at 4, then Wednesday morning flipped the two matchups, putting NSU in a 4 p.m. slot, and later shifted the Lady Demons' start time back to 1 after deciding Florida State and Memphis will compete at 10 a.m.