HOUSTON - The University of Houston softball team will travel to the NCAA Austin Regional hosted by the University of Texas to face Louisiana on May 20, the NCAA selection committee announced Sunday night.

Houston (40-16) will matchup against familiar foe, Louisiana (49-9) in the opening round of the double-elimination regional tournament. Regional host and overall-No. 3 seed Texas (44-8) will face Texas State (33-23) to complete the regional bracket. All games from the regional will be broadcast on ESPNU with times to be announced.

The Cougars are heading to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2008 season, when they played host to a Regional and Super Regional. After claiming the NCAA Regional Championship, Houston was just one win shy of a Super Regional title and the team's first berth into the Women's College World Series.

"We're glad to see ourselves in the postseason and to get that second chance," head coach Kyla Holas said. "Hopefully we can make the most of this run that we have going and everyday just survive and advance. We'll go at it one at a time, play like we have no tomorrow and make the most of our time left."

The Ragin' Cajuns will only heighten the drama that the NCAA Tournament brings. UL is not only where Holas played her All-American career, but it was also the team that kept the Cougars out of the WCWS in 2008. Houston took Louisiana to three games, but fell 4-0 in the decisive contest - the last time Houston played an NCAA Tournament game.

"We know that team and have played them year-in and year-out," Holas said. "That's the same thing with Texas State and Texas. The one thing we're not going against is the unknown. There is some comfort in that, but there are some things that you have to get past when you have already played them already."

Houston faced nationally ranked Texas in Austin already this season and played a doubleheader at Texas State last month.

This marks the Cougar first trip to Austin, however, for the NCAA Tournament. Prior to hosting in 2008, Houston went to Texas A&M for the 2007 Regional. In the team's first NCAA Appearance, Houston traveled to Waco, Texas where the Baylor Bears hosted a Regional in 2004.

CONFERENCE USA
Conference USA received five bids for the first time since the 2004 season as Houston, Tulsa, UAB, Memphis and tournament champion East Carolina each punched their tickets to the NCAA Tournament.

Tulsa was assigned to Oklahoma's Regional in Norman, Okla., while tournament champion East Carolina will travel to the College Park Regional hosted by the University of Maryland. The UAB Blazers will head to the Athens Regional hosted by the University of Georgia, and Memphis will head to the Tuscaloosa Regional hosted by the overall No. 2 seed, Alabama.

THE ROAD TO THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Cougars claimed the Conference USA regular season co-championship after posting a 19-2 record in the final seven series of league play. In the C-USA Conference Championship, the Cougars advanced to the semifinals before falling to the eventual tournament champion, East Carolina in a tight 1-0 loss.

In their last 10 games of the regular season, the Cougars posted a 9-1 record. That record included back-to-back sweeps against conference foes UCF and ECU as well as a 4-3 victory against nationally ranked Texas A&M.

In the most recent RPI projections (May 11), Houston checked in at No. 21 after building a solid resume that will bode well for the Cougars as they face the elite NCAA Tournament field.

Against the nation's top-25, Houston posted wins against Oklahoma State, BYU, Fresno State, Texas A&M and two games against LSU, Tulsa and Baylor. Houston spent three weeks of the season on the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and has since spent four more weeks receiving votes on the poll.


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