CHARLOTTE, N.C. – With the close of the regular season, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) releases its 2017 CIAA Softball Championship Bracket. Atop the standings are Northern Division Co-Champions Chowan University and Bowie State University and the Southern Division Champion Fayetteville State University. The three-day, double elimination championship will open with four (4) games on Thursday, May 4 at the Petersburg Sports Complex (100 Ballpark Road – Petersburg, Va.).
2016 runner-up Chowan University enters this year's tournament No. 1 of the Northern Division after marking a 9-1 season in the division (14-2 conference, 32-18 overall). In a big first round game, the Hawks will meet the defending champion Rams of Winston-Salem State University for a rematch of last year's championship contest. The Rams enter the tournament at No. 4 of the Southern Division (10-6 CIAA, 14-29 overall).
In the South, Fayetteville State University takes the No. 1 seed with a 9-1 division record (14-2 CIAA, 21-15 overall). The Lady Broncos will meet North's No. 4 Virginia Union University Lady Panthers (7-9 CIAA, 10-15 overall).
Bowie State University enters the championship as the No. 2 seed in the North with a 9-1 division record (14-2 CIAA, 18-18 overall). The Bulldogs are scheduled to play against the No. 3 seed of the South, Johnson C. Smith University. The Golden Bulls finished the regular season with a 6-4 division record, 10-6 in the conference and 16-14 record overall.
Saint Augustine's University finished Southern Division play with a 70% (7-3) winning percentage for the No. 2 seed. The Falcons (14-2 CIAA, 21-15 overall) will lineup against the North's No. 3 seed Virginia State University (7-9 CIAA, 12-21 overall).
Prior to the start of the regular season, the CIAA and its Softball Coaches Association announced the 2017 Predicted Order of Finish. At that time, head coaches predicted that the Chowan University Hawks would take this year's championship crown with the Rams of Winston-Salem State coming in second as the Southern Division's best team.
The Championship Consolation Round will begin at with the loser of the CU/WSSU game versus the loser of the SAU/VSU contest and the loser of the FSU/VUU versus the loser of BSU/JCSU.
The double elimination tournament will continue into with two games, which will be split between the Petersburg Sports Complex and Virginia State University. The final game of Day 2 is slated for
Championship finals will be played on on the campus of Virginia State. If a tiebreaker situation exists, the ultimate elimination game will begin 30 minutes following the tie. In the event of inclement weather, the rain date for championship will move to .