#3: Softball Claims Ivy Title, Goes to NCAAs

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ILCS Highlights|ILCS Recap
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Guttadauro on SportsCenter

PHILADELPHIA- Behind a school-record 16 Ivy League wins, a victory in the Ivy League Championship Series and the program’s second Ivy League title, Penn softball (30-20, 16-4 Ivy) earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history and came within an out of defeating one of college softball’s most historic programs.

The Penn softball team entered 2013 with one goal in mind: make it back to the Ivy League Championship Series and bring home the title. After the annual Spring Break trip to start the season, the Quakers returned home on March 15. Penn Park’s confines proved friendly, as the Red and Blue reeled off eight straight wins in their second-year home. It was the program’s longest win streak since 1982, and fell one shy of the school record set in 1981 (coincidentally, the last time Penn won the Ivy League title).

The timing of the win streak could not have been better. The confident Quakers swept defending Ivy League champion Harvard to punctuate the run, and while Dartmouth ended the streak a day later, Penn responded with five consecutive victories over their North Division rivals. The Red and Blue then gained 3-1 series victories over South Division foes Princeton, Cornell and Columbia to finish the regular season with a program-record 16-4 conference mark. That earned Penn its third divisional title and clinched home field advantage for the ILCS.

ILCS Photo Gallery

The Ivy League Championship Series, against Dartmouth, did not lack for drama. In Game 1, first-team All-Ivy pitcher Alexis Borden shined for the Quakers, tossing a complete-game one-hitter with 11 strikeouts for the 1-0 victory. Game 2 saw Borden’s counterpart, Ivy Pitcher of the Year Kristen Rumley, take one back, 6-2, as the Big Green evened the series at one game apiece. Game 3 was played the next day, and what a game it was. In comeback fashion, the Red and Blue survived the series finale behind a stellar seven innings from Borden. Penn trailed 2-0 after two innings, but RBIs from Georgia Guttadauro and Brooke Coloma and a fourth-inning home run off the bat of Kayla Dahlerbruch gave the Quakers a 3-2 lead that Borden did not relinquish.

A few weekends later, Penn got to strut its stuff on national television. Hosted by No. 16 Texas A&M, the College Station Regional consisted of the host Aggies, Baylor, Arizona and Penn. The Red and Blue met Texas A&M on the first day, but were unable to get anything going and headed for the one-loss bracket. The following day, the nation saw Penn softball compete with one of the country’s top programs. However, the Quakers dropped a tight, extra-inning contest against Arizona 3-2 in eight innings. Despite that, Borden pitched well, allowing two earned runs in 7.1 innings. Guttadauro was the star of the day for the Red and Blue, smacking a two-run homer and making a diving catch that earned her the No. 2 spot on ESPN SportCenter’s Top 10 plays. The Quakers made the most of their national appearance, and proved they will work just as hard to get back to that spot in 2014.

Following the program’s first Ivy title since 1981 and its first-ever NCAA tournament berth, the Quakers walked away with a handful of postseason honors. Penn boasted an Ivy League-leading nine All-Ivy honorees, including five first-team selections. In addition, Coloma added NFCA second-team Mid-Atlantic All-Region honors. Five All-Ivy starters will return in 2014 as the Quakers vie for a third straight South Division title and a repeat trip to the NCAA Tournament.

The 2012-13 Penn Top 10 list was selected by members of the athletic department. But here is your chance to weigh in. Was this event ranked too high or too low? Who should be No. 1? Tell us what you think on Twitter with #PennTop10 or give us your thoughts on Facebook.

2012-13 Penn Top 10
No. 1 - July 17
No. 2 - July 15
No. 3 - Softball Claims Ivy Title, Goes to NCAAs
No. 4 - Women's Lacrosse Clinches Ivy Title with OT Win Over Princeton
No. 5 - Women's Basketball Postseason Buzzer Beater
No. 6 - Gymnastics Wins ECAC Title
No. 7 - Wrestling Upends #21 Lehigh, 24-12
No. 8 - Sprint Football Thriller(s)
No. 9 - Historic Basketball Comebacks
No. 10 - Men's Lacrosse Rolls Past #14 Duke, 14-9

Check out 6ABC's highlights ofPenn's ILCS win and its selection to the NCAA tournament.

Penn's Championship Sunday:
Softball and women's lacrosse took home their respective Ivy titles

Softball's Travels to College Station Texas:

NCAAs Opening Press Conference:
Head coach Leslie King and captain Samantha Erosa

Softball's Thursday in College Station, Texas:

Softball NCAA Highlights:

NCAA Arizona Post-Game Press Conference:
Head coach Leslie King, Georgia Guttadauro, and Alexis Borden

Georgia Guttadauro on SportsCenter:

Check out Matt Leon fromKYWwith Leslie King and Alexis Borden HERE

Check out the Daily Pennsylvanian's recaps of the ILCS and the NCAA