PRINCETON, N.J. -- For the 18th consecutive season, an Ivy team heads to the Division I Softball Championship. This year, Harvard claimed the League's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship field by sweeping Cornell in the Ivy League Championship Series May 7-8. The Crimson shutout the Big Red in back-to-back games, 5-0 and 4-0, to return to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2007.
Led by Ivy League Pitcher of the Year Rachel Brown, Player of the Year Ellen Macadam and Rookie of the Year Kasey Lange, the Crimson open Regional play at 9:30 p.m. (EST) on Friday, May 20 against the hosts and eighth-seeded Arizona at the Wildcats' Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium.
The Regional round is contested as a double elimination tournament between four teams spread over 16 sites, with each sites' winners advancing to one of eight Super Regionals. Joining the Crimson and the Wildcats at the 2011 Tucson Regional are New Mexico State and Texas Tech.
Friday, May 20
GM1: Texas Tech vs. New Mexico State; 6:30 pm
GM 2: Harvard at (8) Arizona; 9:30 pm
Saturday, May 21
GM 3: Winner GM 1 vs. Winner GM 2; 2:00 pm
GM 4: Loser GM 1 vs. Loser GM 2; 4:30 pm
GM 5: Loser GM 3 vs. Winner GM 4; 7:00 pm
Sunday, May 22
Regional Championship; Noon
Regional Championship; TBA^
* - at Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium
(#) - refers to national seed in the NCAA Championship
^ - if necessary
Noting The Ivy League In NCAA Championship Play
- Harvard is making its fourth all-time appearance in the NCAA Championship field, having also done so in 1998, 2000 and 2007. Entering the 2011 Tucson Regional, the Crimson has gone 1-6 in NCAA play.
- It marks the second consecutive season the Ivy League Champion has been sent to the Tucson Regional. Last season, Cornell lost to Arizona, 9-0 in five innings, and Oklahoma State, 7-0. In 2005, Princeton also played at the Tucson Regional.
- An Ivy League team has played in the NCAA Division I Softball Championship in each season since 1994, combining for a 10-34 record in the Championship including a 10-30 record in Regional play.
- The NCAA Softball Championship began in 1982 and featured regional play followed by the Women's College World Series from 1982-2004. In 2005, the Super Regional round was added to precede the Women's College World Series.
- In 1995 and 1996 Princeton advanced from regional play to the World Series marking the only two seasons in which an Ivy team has advanced past the regional round.
- The four Ivy teams that have played in the NCAA Championship are Brown (1997), Cornell (1999, 2001, 2004, 2009 and 2010), Harvard (1998, 2000, 2007 and 2011) and Princeton (1994, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2008).
- Out of the three teams Harvard could meet at the 2011 Tucson Regional, an Ivy team has only faced Arizona in NCAA Championship Play:
1995 Women's College World Series: Arizona def. Princeton, 9-1
2010 Tucson Regional: Arizona def. Cornell, 9-0 (5)
- The Ivy League's last win in the NCAA Championship came in 2005 when Princeton defeated Lehigh 3-1 in the Tigers' second game of regional play, also in Tucson, Ariz.