STANDISH, ME - The 2012 NCAA DIII Softball Tournament field has been released and GNAC Champion Saint Joseph's College will face Keene State College in the opening round of the national tourney on Thursday, May 10th at Amherst College.
Saint Joseph's has earned the #5 seed in the eight-team regional and will play fourth-seeded Keene at 12:00 PM on Thursday. Top-seeded SUNY-Cortland takes on #8 Keuka at 10:00 AM, #3 Amherst faces #6 Husson at 2:00 PM, and #2 Plattsburgh State plays #7 University of New England at 4:00 PM that day.
The Monks, 33-7 overall and 23-3 in conference play this spring, will be making their second-consecutive national tourney appearance this spring after clinching back-to-back conference crowns. St. Joe's, ranked seventh in the Northeast Region in the current NCAA Regional Rankings, collected an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament with a 6-2 victory over Emerson College in the 2012 GNAC Championship contest on Sunday, April 29th.
Saint Joseph's enjoyed a strong run in what was the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance last spring. As the #6 seed in the 2011 Providence Regional, the Monks defeated #3 Endicott and #2 Coast Guard before bowing out of the tourney with hard-fought losses to Eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island College.
Keene State (25-10-1, 10-4 LEC) earned an at-large berth into this year's NCAA Tournament after falling to Eastern Connecticut and Western Connecticut in the 2012 Little East Conference (LEC) Tournament. The Owls, ranked fourth in the New England Region according to the latest NCAA Regional Rankings, have not appeared in the national tournament since the 2007 campaign.
Overall, 61 teams from across the country will compete in the 2012 NCAA DIII Softball Tournament.
Six teams will compete at one regional site, seven teams will compete at one regional site and eight teams will compete at six regional sites. The eight regional sites will use a double-elimination format.
The six-team and seven-team regional rounds will be held May 11-14, and the eight-team regional rounds will be held May 10-14. The finals, hosted by the City of Salem and the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, will be held May 18-22 at the Moyer Complex in Salem, Va.
Forty-one conferences received automatic qualification (Pool A). Two schools were selected from Pool B, which includes independent schools and schools from conferences that do not meet the automatic qualification criteria. The 18 remaining teams were selected on an at-large basis from automatic qualifying conferences and the remaining schools in Pool B.
Saint Joseph's College, founded in 1912 by the Sisters of Mercy, celebrates its Centennial year in 2012 with a theme of "Realize the Promise" – honoring our commitment to educating well-rounded graduates who combine career focus with classic liberal arts studies. A Private, Catholic, primarily residential, coeducational liberal arts institution, Saint Joseph's welcomes students of all ages and all faiths. The campus, located 18 miles northwest of Portland and just two hours from Boston, encompasses 350 acres along the shore of beautiful Sebago Lake in Standish, Maine. Enrollment ranges between 1,000 and 1,100 students annually. Saint Joseph's offers challenging academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences, education, nursing and business fields in a value-centered environment.