A return to California for spring break highlights the Princeton softball team's 2012 schedule as announced by head coach Trina Salcido.
Seven participants in the 2011 NCAA tournament will appear on Princeton's schedule, including NCAA regional competitors Maryland, Louisville, Pacific, San Diego State, Lehigh and Ivy representative Harvard. California, which was one of the last six teams standing at the 2011 Women's College World Series, will host Princeton on March 20.
"We configured a challenging non-conference schedule against many top teams from a variety of leagues across the nation," Salcido, in her fifth season as Princeton's head coach, said. "We are excited about our return to Northern California for spring break where we will face Pac-12 powerhouse Cal, defending Big West champions Pacific, and NCAA tournament teams Louisville and San Diego State. Our tough pre-conference opponents will better prepare us for the always competitive Ivy League season."
Princeton will open March 2-4 at the UMBC Retriever Invitational, an event in which the Tigers played last year. This time, Princeton will face UMBC, Niagara, Canisius and James Madison. The following weekend, Princeton will return to the Maryland Invitational, which also appeared on the 2011 slate. Princeton's opponents there will be Maryland, Rhode Island and Kent State.
The Tigers visited California on their spring trip six times between 2004 and 2010 before staying on the East Coast last year. This spring, the trip will begin with the Capital Classic hosted by Sacramento State. Princeton played in the event in 2006 and 2008 and will face Louisville, Akron, Colorado State and Sacramento State this year. Princeton's midweek games will be against California and Saint Mary's before the Tigers return to the Pacific Tiger Invitational for the first time since the team's last visit to California in 2010. There, Princeton will face the host Pacific, San Diego State and Saint Mary's.
The home schedule will begin March 30 with a visit from Dartmouth to start Ivy League play. It will be the first of seven home dates for the Tigers this season, with Harvard, Penn and Cornell also visiting the Class of 1895 Field for conference play and Seton Hall and La Salle coming to town for non-league games.
In non-league action once the Tigers return to the East Coast, Princeton will face Lehigh and Hofstra. Yale, Brown, Columbia and Cornell will host the Tigers in Ivy play.