Story Courtesy of WMU Media Relations
NCAA Tournament Bracket
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Western Michigan softball team (25-28) were placed, in the words of ESPN analysts, in the toughest region in the 2011 NCAA Tournament and will face 10-seed Michigan live on ESPN on Friday night at 8 p.m. Notre Dame and Kentucky make up the other half of the Ann Arbor Regional.
"This is one of the toughest regions in the field and even though Michigan is seeded 10th in the tournament, they have spent time at No. 1 this season and we know how tough they play," commented WMU head coach Kathy Leitke. "We opened the season playing this caliber of opponents and hopefully that experience will prove beneficial for us in the postseason.
"This will be the first time playing in a televised game for this program in a while and the first time for most of the members of this team but we will work through that, approach the game the way we have recently and not allow it to be a distraction."
WMU has played eight teams in this year's field at one point this season, including five of the top-16 seeded teams - (1) Arizona State, (2) Alabama, (5) Missouri, (9) Oklahoma, (10) Michigan, Bethune-Cookman, North Dakota State, Notre Dame.
The Broncos captured wins over Bethune-Cookman and Notre Dame this season, defeating Bethune-Cookman, 5-1, on March 5 and Notre Dame, 3-2, on March 29. WMU was one of only two teams to defeat the Irish at home during the regular season and snapped their 21-game home win streak, which ranked fifth nationally at the time.
Three of the teams in this field that were on WMU's 2011 schedule - Alabama, Arizona State, Michigan - spent time ranked first in the country this season.
WMU captured the 2011 Mid-American Conference regular season and tournament titles for the first time in the same season for the first time in program history. The Broncos fought back through the consolation bracket to win three games on the final day of the MAC Tournament to claim its first tournament title since 2003.