Softball Wins NJAC Championship; Tabbed No. 1 Seed in Plattsburgh, NY Regional

Montclair, NJ (5/8/08) – Over the weekend the Montclair State softball team, ranked fifth in Division III, captured the New Jersey Athletic Conference championship without having to leave the comforts of its own home at the MSU Softball Stadium. The win put Montclair into the NCAA Division III Softball Championship and on Monday, the Red Hawks found out they will have to travel a great distance for that tournament.

MSU will go a little more than 300 miles for its next tournament as the Red Hawks grabbed the No. 1 seed in the Plattsburgh, NY Regional Tournament, which opens on Thursday, May 8. Montclair will play the winner of the first contest of the tournament between Eastern Connecticut and Cortland at 4:00 pm. A victory by MSU would give the Red Hawks a bye into Saturday’s competition.

The regional is a seven-team tournament with games going from Thursday to Sunday with the winner advancing to the NCAA Division III Softball Championship in Salem, Virginia. Joining MSU, Eastern Connecticut, Cortland are St. John Fisher, Springfield College, Keuka and Endicott.

MSU will be making its 18 th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its second straight. The Red Hawks punched their ticket by capturing their third NJAC championship and first since 1997 as it downed The College of New Jersey twice, 1-0 and 6-1 in the title game. MSU is currently 42-4, a school record for victories and completed its best conference season in history as it went 18-0 in NJAC regular-season play and added five more wins in the conference tournament.

Montclair State is 34-26 in NCAA Tournament regional play winning titles in 1984, 1987, 1988, 1992 and 1997. Last year, MSU went 2-2 falling to Moravian College in the championship round.

The Red Hawks have not faced any of the other participants this season and has never met three of the squads. The little history is does have is mostly between the first opponent. MSU is 14-4 against Cortland, but has not faced the Red Dragons since 2003 when Montclair posted an 8-7 win at the old Quarry Field. Montclair is 4-5 versus Eastern Connecticut with those games coming during the 1980s and early 1990s when the squads were two of the more successful in Division III. The teams last met in 1995 with Montclair posting a 13-1 victory.

Springfield is the only other team MSU has faced and that is only five games with the Red Hawks taking three of them. Meeting in 1976, Montclair won the last contest between the two in 2000, a 3-2 victory in Little Falls.

Montclair, which set a school record with a 26-game winning streak this season, swept all of the major awards in the NJAC as seniors Carolyn McCrea ( Wharton, NJ / Jefferson) and Jackie Ferranti ( Bergenfield, NJ / Bergenfield) were named the conference’s Pitcher and Player of the Year, respectively. Montclair also captured the Rookie of the Year award in freshman Leslie Gonzalez (North Bergen, NJ / North Bergen) while head coach Anita Kubicka was chosen as the Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Read the Record article on Montclair State's "Dream Season" by clicking here