May 14, 2006
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara softball team will make its second-ever postseason appearance after receiving a bid into the Evanston Regional of this year's NCAA Tournament, it was announced Sunday. The Gauchos (24-20 overall) will travel to Evanston, Ill., to face the University of Notre Dame (38-19) in the first round Friday, May 19.
UCSB, one of only three teams in the 2006 field with fewer than 30 wins, and Notre Dame will be joined by fourth-seeded Northwestern (42-12) and Southern Illinois (34-11) in Evanston.
Game times have not yet been announced.
The Gauchos enter the postseason with an overall record of 24-20 and finished Big West Conference play with an 8-10 mark. UCSB's non-conference schedule featured a number of nationally-ranked opponents, including top-seeded UCLA, seventh-seeded Oregon State and tenth-seeded Cal. The Gauchos also defeated then fifth-ranked Stanford, a 12 seed in this year's tournament, 2-0 on March 4. Winners of five of its last seven games, the Santa Barbara posted conference victories over NCAA Tournament participants Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State.
In all, three Big West schools were selected to take part in this year's tourney. Representing the conference alongside UCSB will be Long Beach State and Big West Champion Cal State Fullerton.
Santa Barbara is led by fifth year head coach Kristy Schroeder. Schroeder earned Big West Coach of the Years honors her first season at UCSB in 2002 and has guided the Gauchos to four-straight seasons over the .500 mark for the first time in a program history.
Under Schroeder, UCSB was selected to its first NCAA Tournament in 2004 after finishing 32-31 overall and 14-7 in the Big West. The Gauchos lost to Northwestern and Temple in NCAA Region I in Tucson, Arizona.