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Editor/Consulting Writer

The opportunity to prove they belong among the NCAA elite begins Friday for the players in the Louisiana softball program.

A long-awaited, weekend-hosted  first-round tournament at Lamson Park gives the Cajuns a chance to move towards a berth in the Softball College World Series, says Louisiana softball coach Gerry Glasco.

“Our players want to prove they can get to a World Series. We’ve played a tough schedule all year – the fourth toughest schedule in the country – and to see our kids go through that well, it hasn’t been easy,” Glasco said during a Monday afternoon press conference.

Louisiana (42-17) hosts one of 14 NCAA first-round tournaments.

The winner of the Lamson Park tournament that also includes Princeton (29-16), Ole Miss (31-25) and Baylor (32-20) meets the winner of the Gainesville regional hosted by the University of Florida.

Louisiana plays Princeton in the tournament opener Friday at 4:30 p.m. Baylor and Ole Miss follow in the night game.

Hosting The Regional

Glasco recalled last year the angst that occurred when the Cajuns thought they should have hosted a regional tournament in Lafayette.

“It was a bitter moment for our players and that’s what will make this regional so special. I think this weekend we will have a chance to show our atmosphere to the national softball community along with some good, fast teams,’ Glasco said.

Glasco said the Louisiana softball program was positioned this year to host the NCAA tournament because of the difficult schedule and some quality wins that included No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 9 LSU.

The Cajuns reigned again as the Sun Belt Conference regular season tournament.

Last Saturday Louisiana failed to win the SBC postseason tournament, losing to host Texas State.

Although losing the conference tournament was disappointing, Glasco said the defeat might give his players a chance to recalibrate before the start of the NCAA tournament.

Glasco added that the Lafayette regional should be a competitive affair.

“I don’t know too much about Princeton at this point, but I know that Ole Miss is playing well and at one point recently had won five straight games. We played Baylor this year and lost two of three games over there. They have good athletes and they are well coached,” Glasco said.