PRINCETON, N.J. -- Led by Ivy League co-Player of the Year Jane Alexander and two-time Ivy League Pitcher of the Year Rachel Brown, the Harvard softball team is set to face 16th-seeded Washington in its opening game of the 2012 NCAA Championship.
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 Huskies at the 2012 Seattle Regional are Maryland and Texas Tech.
The Crimson earned its way into the NCAA tournament thanks to a sweep of Penn in the Ivy League Championship Series. Brown spun a three-hit shutout collecting four strikeouts, helping Harvard clinch a 1-0 win in Game 1 of the championship series. The Crimson turned up the offense in Game 2, connecting on 12 hits and plating five runs, while Brown earned her second save of the season to clinch the 5-2 win for the Crimson. Harvard has now won back-to-back Ivy League titles and made the NCAA Championship two years in a row.
Noting The Ivy League In NCAA Championship Play
- Harvard is making its fifth all-time appearance in the NCAA Championship field, having also done so in 1998, 2000, 2007 and 2011. Entering the 2012 Seattle Regional, the Crimson are 1-8 in NCAA play.
- An Ivy League team has played in the NCAA Division I Softball Championship in each season since 1994, combining for a 10-36 record in the Championship including a 10-32 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, 2011 and 2012) and Princeton (1994, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2008).
- 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, in Tucson, Ariz.