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Harvard and Penn Set for 2012 Ivy League Softball Championship Series

Harvard and Penn Set for 2012 Ivy League Softball Championship Series

Championship Series Central | Penn Preview | Harvard Preview

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The 2012 Ivy League Softball Championship Series begins on Friday, as Harvard plays host to Penn with the Ivy title on the line. The best-of-three series will begin at 2:00 p.m. at Harvard's Soldiers Field on Friday afternoon.

The winner of the Ivy League Championship Series will earn the league's automatic berth in the 2012 NCAA tournament. The tournament selection show will air on ESPNU at 10 p.m. on Sunday, May 13. NCAA regionals will begin Thursday, May 17 at campus sites.

Friday, May 11
Game 1: Penn at Harvard, 2 p.m.
Game 2: Penn at Harvard, 30 minutes after conclusion of Game 1

Saturday, May 12
Game 3 (if necessary): Penn at Harvard, 1 p.m.

Cross-division rivals, Harvard and Penn played a two-game set on April 7 in Cambridge, Mass. The Crimson got the best of Penn that day, sweeping the doubleheader by scores of 4-3 and then 10-1 (in five innings).

In game one, Rachel Brown gave up back-to-back hits to open the game and then struck out the side and the Crimson plated four in the bottom of the first off of Alexis Borden to jump out to an early lead. Stephanie Regan collected the first two RBI of the four-run first with a bases loaded single. Penn's Sydney Turchin then blasted an RBI double in the top of the fifth and Kayla Dahlerbruch followed with a two-run single to cut the Crimson's lead to one but it was as close as the Quakers would get. Brown finished the game with 13 strikeouts.

In game two, Harvard again scored four in the bottom of the first, with Katherine Lantz's single accounting for two of the four runs. The Crimson followed with two more in the second, three in the third and one in the fourth en route to the 10-1 win. Jane Alexander and Lantz finished with three hits apiece for Harvard and Laura Ricciardone earned the win to improve to 8-5. She tossed five innings while scattering four hits and giving up a run and posting a strikeout. Mikenzie Voves took the loss.

- The Harvard-Penn showdown is a rematch of the first-ever Ivy League Softball Championship Series, which was played in 2007. The Crimson took the inaugural series in two games.

- Harvard is making its third straight appearance in the Championship Series and has represented the North in each Series except 2009 (Dartmouth).

- Penn returns to the Series for the first time since 2007.

- Penn made it to the Championship Series with a 4-0 win over Cornell on Saturday, May 5 in a one game South Division Playoff.

- Two of the previous five Ivy Championship Series have gone to three games, with Cornell winning both three-game series.

Penn advanced to the 2012 Ivy League Championship series by winning a one-game playoff versus Cornell on Saturday, May 5. The Quakers won the game, 4-0, n the strength of a perfect game from freshman pitcher Alexis Borden. After the Big Red and Quakers finished the regular season tied atop the South Division standings, the teams met for the first ever one-game playoff in League history and Borden silenced the Cornell bats en route to the victory.

Dating back to 1980, the first season of Ivy League softball play, six Ivy teams have combined for 35 titles in the 32 seasons of play. Yale won the inaugural title in 1980, while Princeton leads the League with 17 titles. Cornell, Brown and Harvard each have five titles, followed by Yale (2) and Penn (1). In 2010, Cornell prevailed in Game 3 of the Championship Series over Harvard, 3-2, for its second title in as many seasons, before Harvard halted that streak by sweeping the Big Red in 2011.

The softball championship series, which pits the regular season champions of the North and South Divisions against each other, began in 2007. That season, Harvard defeated Penn in consecutive games to win the first Ivy League Championship Series. The Crimson has now represented the North in five of the six League Championships series (all but 2009 when Dartmouth won the North Division).

Since the Ivy schedule format change in 2007, a team has finished with 17 or more League wins six times and won its division on each of those six occasions. In 2008, Princeton set the record with an 18-2 mark en route to claiming the South Division title. In 2009, Cornell became the second team to crack the 17-Ivy win plateau with a 17-3 record to take the South Division. Then in 2010, both the North (Harvard) and South (Cornell) Division winners reached 17-wins. In 2011, Harvard tied for the most League wins all-time at 18-2 while becoming the fifth squad to win at least 17 Ivy games and win its division. The Crimson followed up with a 17-3 mark in 2012.

2007 -- Harvard (North) vs. Penn (South)
Game One: Harvard def. Penn, 4-0
Game Two: Harvard def. Penn, 4-2
Harvard wins series, 2-0 (Soldiers Softball Field // Cambridge, Mass.)

2008 -- Harvard (North) vs. Princeton (South)
Game One: Princeton def. Harvard, 4-2
Game Two: Princeton def. Harvard, 5-1
Princeton wins series, 2-0 (Class of 1895 Field // Princeton, N.J.)

2009 -- Dartmouth (North) vs. Cornell (South)
Game One: Cornell def. Dartmouth, 4-0
Game Two: Dartmouth def. Cornell, 5-1
Game Three: Cornell def. Dartmouth, 6-1
Cornell wins series, 2-1 (at Niemand*Robison Field // Ithaca, N.Y.)

2010 -- Harvard (North) vs. Cornell (South)
Game One: Cornell def. Harvard, 3-1
Game Two: Harvard def. Cornell, 4-2
Game Three: Cornell def. Harvard, 3-2
Cornell wins series, 2-1 (at Niemand*Robison Field // Ithaca, N.Y.)

2011 -- Harvard (North) vs. Cornell (South)
Game One: Harvard def. Cornell, 5-0
Game Two: Harvard def. Cornell, 4-0
Harvard wins series, 2-0 (at Soldiers Field // Cambridge, Mass.)