SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Missouri State softball team knew they were in the dance.

As regionals at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Arkansas all passed, excitement grew in the room.

It’s like they knew what was next.

Then Missouri pops up as a 15 seed, followed immediately by Missouri State.

“That’s what you dream of when the season starts,” Missouri State head coach Holly Hesse said. “That is what you put all the hard work in for. To see all that hard work pay off with a trip to the NCAA Tournament it’s an overwhelming joy.”

It’s the first NCAA Tournament bid for the Bears since 2011.

“Just to have that opportunity now, we are all super, super excited,” Bears junior third baseman Olivia Krehbiel said. “Honestly just seeing our coaches and seeing how happy Holly was, she has been wanting that tournament championship for a long time. Obviously it has been 11 years and now that we get to go we are all super pumped.”

Missouri State will play hosts Mizzou in the first round of the regional on Friday at 1pm.

Arizona and Illinois are the two other teams going to Columbia.