May 13, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara softball team will make its second consecutive postseason appearance after receiving one of 35 at-large bids into the 64-team field of the 2007 NCAA Division I Softball Tournament it was announced Sunday afternoon. The Gauchos will face Hawaii (46-11), which is currently ranked No. 12 nationally but enters the tournament unseeded, in the first round of the Los Angeles Regional at UCLA's Easton Stadium on Friday, May 18 at 2:30 p.m.
UCSB and Hawaii will be joined by host No. 12 seeded UCLA (36-16) and Loyola Marymount (45-16) in Los Angeles. All games of the regional, which is in a double elimination format, will be televised on ESPNU.
Santa Barbara is one of five Big West teams that have qualified for this year's tournament along with conference champion Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, Pacific and Cal State Northridge. The Gauchos finished sixth in the Big West with a 7-11 conference mark, but they had an impressive non-conference record of 23-11 and went 4-4 against teams ranked in the NFCA/USA Today Top 25 Poll including wins over then-ranked No. 2 Arizona State, No. 11 UCLA, No. 23 Massachusetts and No. 24 Fresno State.
UCSB has played 15 of the tournament's 64 teams this season, and including conference games, has posted an 8-15 record against fellow tournament participants. The Gauchos posted a 3-1 win over fellow regional participant UCLA on March 27 and split a doubleheader with Loyola Marymount on March 25 falling 3-4 in game one before defeating the Lions 6-2 in the night cap.
This is the second postseason appearance for the Gauchos in two years and the third in program history. All NCAA tournament bids have been granted to UCSB during head coach Kristy Schroeder's tenure with the program. Schroeder has led the Gauchos to five consecutive winning seasons and with this year's 30-21 mark, she has guided the program to three 30-win seasons since 2002.
"I was excited to see that five teams from the Big West got into the tournament, I think that is great for the conference. It is a good regional for us to be in since we have seen UCLA and LMU already this season and beaten both of them. We also played Hawaii last year and picked up a win," said Schroeder.
"I feel pretty good about the location as well since we will be able to have lots of fans and parents there. It was a great Mother's Day gift for me and I am really happy for our four seniors because I knew they didn't want this last weekend at Long Beach to be the end of their careers. We got a new life and we are looking forward to it."