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Conventional wisdom suggested the Gophers softball program might fade after the 2017 season — a year that ended with a disappointing NCAA regional loss following a controversial decision not to give Minnesota a chance to host. Head coach Jessica Allister, who took the Gophers to five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, left not long after for Stanford.

New coach Jamie Trachsel got the Gophers back to the tourney in 2018, but another blow came last offseason when two-time Big Ten Player of the Year Kendyl Lindaman transferred to Florida and the powerhouse SEC.

Surely that would spell doom for Minnesota, right?

Wrong. The Gophers on Monday improved on an already impressive season with an 8-1 shellacking of Georgia — which finished with an identical 12-12 conference record as Florida in the SEC this year — to advance (and host) the super regional vs. LSU (which tied for second in the SEC at 14-10).

Allister’s Gophers made it this far once, in 2014. Trachsel, thanks to a monster non-conference schedule, has them back — with a real chance to get to the College World Series.

It’s one of the best stories you’ll find around.