The 2013 NCAA Softball Tournament has been announced. And the Bears, with a healthy and getting stronger Senior ace Jolene Henderson, are heading to...Ann Arbor, Michigan.
In the Michigan Regionals, the double elimination round would include your California Golden Bears (36-17), eighth-seeded Michigan Wolverines (45-10), Central Michigan Chippewas (33-18) and Valparaiso Crusaders (34-25).
Here are the rankings (coaches' poll) and RPIs of the teams.
Cal (17, 17)
Michigan (6, 7)
Central Michigan (NR, 115)
Valparaiso (NR, 195)
Cal's postseason play opens against Central Michigan with the first round of the tournament on Friday, May 17 at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT on ESPN3.
So it would probably be a two team race between Cal and Michigan."We're excited to make our 28th consecutive regional bid. We've got great opponents and are thrilled for the opportunity," said Golden Bear head coach Diane Ninemire. "This is an extremely competitive regional and it should be an outstanding competition."
"I think the whole team is pumped to get back on the road. A lot of us have been to postseason before and we are so excited. We love the challenge," said senior captain Jolene Henderson.
A quick glance at the schedule for Cal and Michigan revealed
UC Davis (Cal beat them 7-0 at Davis, Michigan beat them 6-0 at neutral site)
Maryland (Cal beat them 3-2 at neutral site, Michigan beat them 10-2 (5 innings) at neutral site)
Georgia Tech (Cal beat them 8-0 (6) at neutral site, Michigan beat them 6-1 at neutral site)
Northwestern (Cal beat them 2-0 at neutral site, Michigan swept them at home 2-1, 16-1 (5), 9-3)
Nebraska (Cal beat them 1-0 at neutral site, Michigan went 1-2 against them at Nebraska 1-6, 5-3, 4-7)
Oregon (Cal went 1-2 against them at home 1-5, 3-1, 3-9, Michigan lost 13-4 (6))
Washington (Cal went 1-2 against them at Washington 4-7, 8-9 (9), 3-2, Michigan beat them 6-1 at neutral site)
Arizona (Cal went 2-1 at Arizona 6-2, 5-1, 3-7, Michigan beat them 9-1 (6))
Arizona State (Jo-less Cal got swept 2-10 (5), 0-11 (5), 3-5, Michigan beat them 5-4 at neutral site)
From the ESPN's preview:
Jolene Henderson, California: Until its ace went down with a knee injury in April, Cal was in position to claim a national seed and host at least a regional. Things fell apart without Henderson, which leaves the Golden Bears heading to Ann Arbor and a potential meeting with No. 8 Michigan. But Henderson was back in the circle for the final weekend of the regular season and went the distance for her 30th win in the final game. The specifics of the injury were never disclosed, and it's not clear how close to 100 percent she will be. But even some of Henderson is a lot to deal with.
We shall have gamethreads since the games are all online (and possibly TV) and more info on the Cal opponents then.
The winner of the Michigan Regional will face off against the winner from the LSU Regional (9th seed LSU, entral Connecticut State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Northwestern State) in the Super Regional.