June 7, 2013
Photo Gallery (2013 Louisville NCAA Regional)
Photo Gallery (2013 Gainesville NCAA Super Regional)
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ----- The UAB softball team has set yet another mark for the 2013 season with a program-best No. 29 ranking in the final NCAA RPI, capping off what was a season to remember for the Blazers.
UAB, which won the 2013 Conference USA regular season title, is the highest-ranked C-USA team and has now finished ranked No. 45 or better in each of the last four seasons.
"The final RPI ranking of 29 is a great way to close the most successful year in UAB softball history," Blazers' head coach and C-USA Coach of the Year Marla Townsend said. "My philosophy has always been to compete against the top teams in the country, and I feel that our athletes now realize that they can."
Under Townsend, the Blazers reached the 40-win plateau for the first time ever with a 40-19 record on their way to a berth in the NCAA Super Regional in Gainesville, Fla. -- another first at UAB.
The Blazers made their fourth-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament this past season and had six players earn All-Conference USA accolades, while four individuals made the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Mideast Region Team.
"I am so proud of the accomplishments that 'Team 14' had this season," Townsend said. "The fight that these ladies showed and the way that they focused on the mental side of softball really proved that they could play with any team in the country. This team defined the meaning of being relentless."
That success brought unprecedented attention to the UAB softball team as the Blazers defeated perennial power UCLA twice and top-seed and host Louisville to win the Louisville Regional, before squaring off with No. 2 Florida at the Gainesville Super Regional.
"This team's success brought national attention to a talented group of young ladies who took pride in representing UAB, our alumni and families, and the entire Birmingham community," Townsend added. "I am extremely proud to also bring recognition to their academic success this semester as they finished the spring semester with a 3.31 team GPA -- the second-highest total in our history."
The Blazers will be eyeing their fifth-straight NCAA appearance and fifth consecutive season with 37 or more wins -- something Townsend believes is possible due to the loyal support of UAB's followers.
"I would like to thank everyone that has supported UAB softball this season," said Townsend. "The positive feedback that we have received throughout the year, and especially at the NCAA Super Regional, was overwhelming and helped make 2013 a special year.
"The day before we left for Gainesville I called Mrs. Bartow and we shared thoughts on the vision that Coach Bartow had for the softball program. It is a privilege for me to help carry on the tradition of success that Coach started at UAB so many years ago. I often think of him and his style of coaching and know how proud he would be of these ladies."
UAB Softball's 2013 Accomplishments
• First NCAA Super Regional appearance in school history
• 2013 NCAA Louisville Regional Champion
• The Blazers reached 40 wins for the first time in program history with a 40-19 record
• No. 29 final RPI ranking
• Won the Conference USA regular season title for the first time
• Six players were named All-Conference USA performers Caitlin Attfield, Lannah Campbell, Kate Armstrong, Whitney Fletcher, Kristen McGrath and Anna Kimbrell)
• Caitlin Attfield was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Year and placed on the league's All-Freshman Team
• Marla Townsend was named the C-USA Coach of the Year
• Four players Caitlin Attfield, Lannah Campbell, Whitney Fletcher and Kristen McGrath) were named NFCA All-Mideast Region performers