Softball Headed to Harrisonburg Regional to Open NCAA Tournament Friday
Video: Reaction and Post-Selection Interviews with head coach Lisa Van Ackeren and co-captain Kayla Bose
After earning the Ivy League's automatic NCAA tournament bid with an Ivy League Championship Series win at Harvard last Monday, the Princeton softball team is headed to James Madison for its NCAA regional beginning Friday.
Princeton will open with host James Madison Friday at 4:30, while Longwood will face North Carolina Friday at 2 p.m. in the other half double-elimination regional.
James Madison (46-4) is ranked No. 7 in the nation in both the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and the NFCA/USA Today poll. The Dukes won the Colonial Athletic Association's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, and three of the team's four losses were by a single run while the other, in addition to one of the one-run defeats, were to top-25 teams in Nebraska and Alabama.
North Carolina (31-23) drew an at-large bid out of the ACC, while Longwood (38-18) won the Big South conference tournament to claim an automatic bid.
Saturday's play will start at 2 p.m. with Friday's two winners, while the other two teams will play an elimination game at 4:30. The winner of that elimination game will play the loser of Saturday's 2 p.m. game at 7 p.m. Saturday. The winner of Saturday's first game and the surviving team from Saturday's late game will play at 2 p.m. Sunday, with a second game to follow if the team that entered Sunday unbeaten loses that first game.
Princeton has faced James Madison four times, in 2005 at East Carolina, in 2008 at North Carolina and in 2013 for a doubleheader at JMU with the Dukes winning the last three meetings. The Tigers have faced North Carolina six times, most recently in 2009, and Princeton has never faced Longwood.
Princeton has made eight previous NCAA tournament appearances in its history, most recently in 2008. The Tigers have traveled nearly coast-to-coast for those eight NCAA tournaments, to Louisiana in 1994 and 2006, Massachusetts in 1996 and 2008, Minnesota in 2002, and Arizona in 2003 and 2005 while staying home for the regional round in 1995. Princeton made two Women's College World Series appearances, in 1995 and 1996.
Winner of 18 Ivy League titles, Princeton became the first visiting team to win the Ivy League Championship Series since the Ivy undertook the ILCS format in 2007.
The 16 regional winners will compete in one of eight best-of-three super regionals the following weekend, with the eight winners from that round heading to the Women's College World Series beginning June 2.