PHILADELPHIA - Sunday started out on a down note for Penn with a tough loss to Dartmouth in the 2012 Ivy League Tournament Final. However, as the day came to a close there was reason for celebration as the Quakers were awarded an at-large berth to the NCAA Championship.
The Red and Blue will make their sixth consecutive trip to the national tournament and start their path to a national title at Loyola (MD) next weekend for a 1 p.m. game on May 13.
"I am so proud of this team," head coach Karin Brower Corbett said. "They have battled through a lot of injruies this year and some of our younger players have grown up as college athletes real fast. I am happy for our two seniors, co-captains Erin Brennan and Emily Leitner as they get to continue their stellar careers for at least one more game. I know the whole team wanted to see them get one more shot at a national title for all they have done for this program. We will get back to work righta way and prepare for Loyola."
Penn is making its eighth overall trip to the NCAA Championship and second as an at-large selection in the last two seasons. Penn is 9-7 overall in NCAA Championship games, with trip to the final weekend of competition three times since 2007. Last year, Penn was defeated by No. 5 seed Duke, 12-9, in Durham.
"We are excited to have another week together as a team," All-Ivy goalkeeper Emily Leitner said. "We realize the opportunity we have now with this chance to make a run and it is something we need to capitalize on."
This will be the second time Penn and Loyola (MD) will meet in the NCAA Championship, but the first since 1983. The Quakers defeated the Greyhounds, 9-5, in the 1983 first round for Penn's first-ever win in the NCAA Championship.
The Quakers claimed a sixth consecutive Ivy League regular season championship this season with a 6-1 record in Ivy play. They enter the tournament with a 9-7 overall record, but have played one of the toughest schedules in the country with all seven losses coming at the hands of teams ranked inside the top-13 at the time of the meeting. The Quakers boast an RPI of No. 14 and with the fifth-highest strength of schedule in the country.
Loyola recently won its second consecutive BIG EAST Tournament championship and enter the tournament with a 12-5 overall record.
2012 NCAA First Round Matchups
#1 Florida vs. Albany
#2 Northwestern vs. Notre Dame
#3 Maryland vs. Massachusetts
#4 Syracuse vs. Dartmouth
#5 North Carolina vs. Navy
#6 Loyola (MD) vs. PENN
#7 Duke vs. Virginia
#8 Towson vs. Penn State