ROCHESTER, Minnesota - Fresh off a Region III-B title, the MCC softball team has earned the fifth seed and will open play on Thursday at the NJCAA Division III national tournament.
The Tribunes (23-10) will take on fourth-seeded Lehigh Carbon Community College (24-7) at 11 a.m. Eastern on Thursday in the first round. The Cougars reached the tournament via a series sweep of Rowan Gloucester in the Region XIX tournament.
Monroe qualified for nationals by taking the first two of a Best-of-3 series with Corning Community College last Friday. Amber Terlaje earned MVP honors after winning both games on the hill while notching five hits in eight at bats.
The Tribunes have had an interesting - and at times trying - regular season. Monroe was 6-4 following its spring trip to Florida and dropped to 6-6 after losing two close games to D-II power Mercyhurst North East on April 2.
The weather then became the team's next opponent, as MCC had 16 consecutive games called off due to snow, rain, or poor field conditions.
After a 19-day layoff, the weather finally broke and Monroe rattled off nine straight victories. They enter nationals winners of 17 of their last 21 contests overall.
Terlaje has spearheaded the deep postseason run. The sophomore is 13-4 with a 1.74 ERA and has walked just nine batters in 120.2 innings. She's also the team's biggest source of power at the plate, as she's batting .509 with 11 doubles, 11 home runs, and 55 RBIs.
Maria Marcera, who like Terlaje was a first team All-Region III selection, leads Monroe in batting average (.533), hits (64), runs (43-tied), and doubles (14). Monroe is hitting .406 as a team, with Jen Newell (.439), Vicky Adkins (.426), Julia Grace (.422), and Jennifer Teerlinck (.422) all over .400.
Monroe is a three-time national champion, having won in 2006, 2007, and 2008.