June 17, 2011
Three Big Ten teams advanced to the 2011 NCAA Division I Softball Championship, culminating a season that saw Michigan secure its fourth straight Big Ten Championship. The Wolverines earned the Big Ten's automatic berth to the tournament, marking their 17th straight trip to the event. Indiana was selected to the field for the first time since 2006, its eighth overall trip, riding the arm of Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Morgan Melloh to a 37-win campaign. Penn State was chosen to compete in its 10th NCAA Championship, first since 2007, while the Nittany Lions' Beard Field served as a host site during the regional round.
Michigan and Penn State each won two games during regional competition before falling in the regional finals. After recording wins over Western Michigan and Notre Dame, the Wolverines fell twice to Kentucky. Despite an opening-day loss to Fordham, Penn State rallied to defeat Albany and Fordham the next day before falling to super regional qualifier Oregon in the final. Indiana dropped close contests to DePaul and Illinois State in two tournament games.
In leading their team to a fourth straight Big Ten title, Wolverine senior Amanda Chidester and head coach Carol Hutchins were named Big Ten Player and Coach of the Year, respectively. Indiana senior hurler Morgan Melloh claimed Big Ten Pitcher of the Year honors, while Freshman of the Year accolades went to Minnesota pitcher Sara Moulton.
Nationally, seven conference standouts were named NFCA Division I All-Americans. Chidester and Northwestern's Adrienne Monka were named first-team honorees, Michigan's Ashley Lane and Jordan Taylor were selected as second-team members and Illinois' Danielle Zymkowitz, Michigan's Bree Evans and Michigan State's Lindsey Hansen earned third-team distinction. Northwestern's Robin Thompson was named a third team Academic All-American.