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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Mountie softball gets first-ever PSAC playoff berth

MANSFIELD – In the end it all came down to a coin-toss.

After a 30-year wait the Mansfield University softball team earned the program’s first trip to the PSAC playoffs when the coin tossed by PSAC Commissioner Steve Murray landed head's at the conference office just past 10 a.m. on Monday morning.

The Mountaineers, who had a two game lead over IUP after splitting the Mountaineers regular-season doubleheader at Lutes Field on Friday, had to wait to see how IUP fared against Clarion on Saturday. IUP won both games forcing the coin-toss.

Mansfield and IUP had tied for third-place in the newly formed PSAC Central and after the first two criteria of head-to-head competition and records against other teams in the division failed to break the tie for the playoff spot, the unusual coin-toss determined the team that would advance.

“It was quick,” said head coach Edith Gallagher. “Mansfield was heads and IUP was tails. Everything went silent for a moment before the Commissioner just said it heads and Mansfield goes.”

It was a rewarding moment for Mansfield and especially Gallagher who has guided the Mountaineers in 18 of the 30 years the programs existence since being established in 1980. While Mansfield has played in numerous ECAC tournaments, capturing the championship three times, this will the Mountaineers first PSAC Championship tournament.

“I’m beyond happy and pleased for our players,” reported a beaming Gallagher. “We’ve been so close before only to be disappointed that it still doesn’t seem real. No one gave this team a chance to make the playoffs before the season began but they just got better and started believing in themselves more and more as the season progressed.”

While Gallagher did find out her Mounties would be in the playoffs and they would play in the opening round at Kutztown on Friday morning, they probably won’t know who they will be playing until mid-week.

Mansfield, the #3 seed from the PSAC Central is scheduled to play the #2 seed from the PSAC West at 11 a.m. at Kutztown the #1 seed from the PSAC East. But while the playoff participants from the PSAC East and Central were decided this past weekend, inclement weather has prevented the PSAC West from being decided.

Edinboro, currently third in the PSAC West still has doubleheaders remaining with California, which clinched the #1 seed, and fifth-place Gannon. Any of the four teams behind California could earn a playoff spot.

The PSAC was comprised of the East and West Divisions until Gannon and Mercyhurst joined the conference this season. With the additions, the conference divided into three divisions each consisting of five teams.

Mansfield was moved into the newly formed PSAC Central along with perennial powers Lock Haven and Bloomsburg, both of whom are national ranked this season. IUP and Clarion rounded out the PSAC Central.

The new format also included an additional playoff spot.  In the past the top four teams from each division advanced for a total of eight teams. This season the top three teams from each division advance, a total of nine teams.

The Championship Tournament will be held the sites of the three divisional winners for the first round. Mansfield and the PSAC West #2 seed will play at #1 PSAC East seed Kutztown. The format is a straight double elimination winners/losers bracket with games being played Friday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. with Saturday’s games scheduled at 1 p.m. with a game #5 if needed schedule afterwards in needed.

The three winners will advance to the final round on May 3.



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