Montclair, NJ (5/9/11) – The Montclair State softball earned a berth to the NCAA Division III Softball Championship on Monday as the Red Hawks received one of the 19 at-large bids to the field of 60 teams. MSU will head to SUNY-Cortland for the Cortland Regional which opens up play on Friday, May 13.
Montclair State, the number three seed, will face No. 4 seed Piedmont College (GA) in the second game of the day on Friday at 2:00 pm. Moravian College (35-11) and College of Staten Island (26-11) precedes the Red Hawks' contest. Host Cortland (36-3-1) will face King's College (PA) (18-11) in the final game on Friday.
The tournament continues on Saturday, Sunday and if necessary Monday with the winner advancing to the NCAA Division III Softball Championship in Salem, VA on May 20-24 at the Moyer Complex in Salem, Va.
MSU is back in the NCAA Tournament after a two-year hiatus. Montclair is making its 19th appearance overall in the NCAA Tournament and its third in the last five years. The Red Hawks' last trip came in 2008 when they participated in the Plattsburgh, NY Regional Tournament. Montclair has won five NCAA regional titles, the last coming in 1997 when it finished as the NCAA national runner-up.
Montclair State is 27-10 following its NJAC Tournament appearance over the weekend. The Red Hawks were picked to finish out of the conference tournament race this season (7th overall), but posted a 14-4 mark in league play earning a share of first place along with Rowan and William Paterson. MSU was the No. 2 seed in the NJAC Tournament via tiebreaking procedures. After starting the season at 4-4, Montclair reeled off 17 straight wins and reached a No. 23 ranking in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III Poll.
Of the five teams in the regional with Montclair, Piedmont is the least known to the Red Hawks although the school's baseball squads have met several times the past few seasons. Winners of the Great South Athletic Conference (GSAC), the Lady Lions are 27-13 overall and have won five straight games entering this weekend's action. It will be Piedmont's third NCAA appearance overall.
Montclair has also never met King's College either although the two were among the field of seven during the 2007 NCAA Montclair Regional at the MSU Softball Stadium.
Montclair State however is a little more familiar with the rest. The Red Hawks lost twice to Moravian in the aforementioned Montclair Regional in 2007 and the Red Hawks beat Staten Island twice on April 7 by scores of 4-0 and 12-3. MSU is 12-2-1 all-time versus the Dolphins. Against host Cortland, Montclair is 14-5 however the Red Dragons won the most recent meeting with a 2-0 victory in the Plattburgh Regional in 2008.