Tournament begins Saturday at 9 a.m. at Forest Akers West Golf Course.
McPherson awarded sponsor exemption from Meijer to play in the professional tournament, which will be held Aug. 4-10 at Blythefield Country Club in Grand Rapids.
MSU advances to the NCAA Championships for the third year in a row, tying a school record.
MSU earns a No. 8 seed in the West Regional.
MSU ties Ohio State for first place to win its 11th Big Ten title in program history.
As she enters her 18th season at the helm, Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll continues to carry the Spartan women's golf program into the regional and national spotlight year after year.
The driven former Spartan player was named head coach on June 20, 1997, and immediately began assembling the talent necessary to contend for Big Ten Championships and compete at the national level on a yearly basis.
In 17 seasons, she has led the Spartans to 16 straight NCAA Regional appearances (1999-2014), 10 trips to the NCAA Championships (2000-03, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2012-14), and five Big Ten titles (2001, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2014). In addition, Michigan State has won 33 tournaments during this span. Slobodnik-Stoll is a three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year (2001, 2007, 2012) and was named the Midwest Region Coach of the Year in 1999.
"I believe that each year it is my responsibility to improve as a recruiter, a teacher, a sports psychologist, a motivator and a leader," said Slobodnik-Stoll. "We must keep up and be on the cutting edge for our student-athletes and our program. Once you have tasted victory, it's hard to forget. It only drives me to work harder to make sure that each year we will have an opportunity to win the Big Ten Championship and finish as one of the top programs in the country."
Over the last 17 years, Slobodnik-Stoll's players have earned All-Big Ten honors 38 times, including 23 first-team selections. Three Spartans have been named the Big Ten Women's Golfer of the Year: Emily Bastel (2002), Laura Kueny (2010) and Caroline Powers (2013). Bastel was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame Class in 2012, while Kueny and Powers are currently playing on the Symetra Tour.
In addition, a Spartan player took home Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors in 1998 (Kasey Gant), 1999 (Bastel) and 2003 (Dayna Burleigh). Three Spartans have earned All-Big Ten honors four consecutive years: Kasey Gant (1998-2001), Bastel (1999-2002) and Aimee Neff (2008-11).
"Those rushes that you have as a coach and as a player - holding the trophy, seeing the Academic All-American awards given out - those moments are unforgettable," said Slobodnik-Stoll. "It drives you and the players to become better and better."
Individual accolades for Slobodnik-Stoll's players keep growing year by year. Bastel became just the second MSU golfer to be named to the Curtis Cup team in 2002, while Allison Fouch (2003), Laura Kueny (2010) and Christine Meier (2012) qualified for the U.S. Women's Open Championship as amateurs. Five Spartans (Bastel, Fouch, Kueny, Sara Brown, Caroline Powers) have garnered All-America accolades under Slobodnik-Stoll, and eight times her players have won the George Alderton Female Athlete of the Year Award at Michigan State (Bastel in 2000 and 2002; Brown in 2007 and 2008; Powers in 2011, 2012 and 2013; and Allyssa Ferrell in 2014).
Slobodnik-Stoll's players have also gone beyond the college ranks. Bastel (2005-06, 2008), Brown (2011), Fouch (2004-12) and Stacy Snider (2004-06) have all played on the LPGA Tour. Additionally, numerous players have played on the Symetra Tour, including current tour members Brown, Kueny, Neff, Powers and Christine Meier.
In the classroom, Slobodnik-Stoll's teams have been just as successful as on the golf course. For the third consecutive year, the Michigan State women's golf team was honored with the Athletic Director's Award at the 2014 Spartan Academic Excellence Gala for achieving the highest team cumulative grade-point average after the 2013 fall semester. The program boasted a department-high cumulative GPA of 3.472 with all eligible members on the team qualifying for the gala for the second year in a row. The Spartans also earned All-Academic Team recognition from the Golf Coaches Association of America. In addition, six Spartans earned Academic All-Big Ten honors. In her tenure, Spartan student-athletes have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors on 67 occasions and Women's Golf Coaches Association All-Scholar honors 29 times.
Michigan State tied a school record by reaching the NCAA Championships for a third consecutive year in 2014. The Spartans, who tied for 20th place, also set a program record for the third year in a row for their lowest score at the NCAA Championships (1201 in 2012 in Franklin, Tennessee; 1191 in 2013 in Athens, Georgia; 1178 in 2014 in Tulsa, Oklahoma). MSU also set a school single-round record at the NCAA Championships with a 3-over-par 283 in the second round. Ferrell tied for 10th place to lead the Spartans with the lowest 72-hole total in school history (283) and became just the third Spartan to place in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships.
The Spartans won their third Big Ten Championship in four years and 11th overall in dramatic fashion, as Ferrell drilled a 9-foot putt on the final hole to clinch a share of the title, along with Ohio State. Ferrell placed fifth for the second year in a row and was named to the All-Championships Team. A second-team All-Big Ten selection, Ferrell closed her senior year with a 74.14 scoring average, the sixth lowest in a MSU single season, and was named the Alderton Award winner for MSU female athlete of the year. In addition to setting a 72-hole record at the NCAA Championships, she shot a school-record low 9-under-par 207 in the 54-hole Central District Invitational in February. She finished her career sixth in the Spartan record book with a 75.87 scoring average.
Seniors Christine Meier and Liz Nagel also left their mark on the program. Nagel earned first-team All-Big Ten honors, tied for the team lead with five top-10 finishes, and ranked second on the team with a 74.43 scoring average, the eighth lowest in a MSU single season. She closed her career with the fourth-lowest scoring average in school history at 75.65. Nagel, a cancer survivor, was named the 2014 Kim Moore Spirit Award winner by the Women's Golf Coaches Association. Meier closed her career with a 76.59 scoring average, the 10th lowest in program history.
The Spartans clinched their 16th consecutive trip to NCAA Regionals with their win at the Big Ten Championships, which is the second-longest active streak in the Big Ten (Ohio State, 20). MSU placed fifth at the NCAA West Regional to advance to the NCAA Championships for the third year in a row, equaling the program record (2000-02). The team opened the season in September with a victory at its home Mary Fossum Invitational at Forest Akers West, giving Slobodnik-Stoll her ninth Fossum title. Overall, Slobodnik-Stoll has won 33 tournaments during her tenure as head coach of the Spartans.
Michigan State set numerous school records at the Central District Invitational in February. The host Spartans took third place after shooting the lowest 54-hole score in program history with a 15-under 849 (288-278-283), shattering the previous record of 860 set at the 2009 Tar Heel Invitational. During the tournament, Michigan State set new school records for the lowest 18-hole team score (278), lowest 54-hole team score (849) and lowest 54-hole individual score (Ferrell, 207), while matching the lowest 18-hole individual score (Ferrell, 67).
It was a record-breaking season in 2012-13, as the Spartans tied for ninth place at the 2013 NCAA Championships - the highest in program history. MSU did so by tallying a 72-hole total of 39-over-par 1191 (298-291-298-304) at the University of Georgia Golf Course, marking its then-lowest total at nationals by 10 shots.
Meier led the way at nationals, tying for sixth place with a 1-over 289 (72-75-69-73), equaling the best finish by a Spartan at the NCAA Championships. Meier's 289 was the second-lowest score in program history at nationals and the fourth-lowest 72-hole total in the school record books.
The most decorated women's golfer in Michigan State history, Powers completed her career in 2012-13 as the school's all-time record holder in scoring average (74.26) and owns the top three single-season scoring averages in program history, including her record 73.53 she set as a sophomore. Named the 2013 Big Ten Women's Golfer of the Year, Powers posted six top-10 finishes as a senior and was named the Alderton Award winner at MSU (top athlete) for a third straight year, a feat accomplished by only one other student-athlete in school history. Powers also was named the female winner of the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor and the recipient of the Chester Brewer Leadership Award. She became the first student-athlete in MSU history to receive the Alderton Award, Brewer Award and Conference Medal of Honor in the same year. A three-time honorable mention All-American and All-Big Ten First Team selection, Powers also received the 2013 Dinah Shore Trophy from the LPGA Foundation.
The Spartans advanced to the NCAA Championships after placing eighth at the NCAA Central Regional, edging out North Carolina State by one stroke. MSU placed third at the Big Ten Championships, extending its run of finishing in at least the top three at the event to 10 consecutive seasons. Slobodnik-Stoll won her 31st tournament as head coach when the Spartans claimed the Lady Buckeye Invitational in Columbus, Ohio, in April. In addition to Powers earning first-team honors, Meier and Allyssa Ferrell each earned second-team All-Big Ten accolades.
The 2011-12 Michigan State women's golf team added another chapter to the storied legacy of the program. The Spartans won their second straight Big Ten Championship, reached the NCAA Regionals for the 14th consecutive year, and advanced to the NCAA Championships for the 10th time in program history as Slobodnik-Stoll was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year for the third time in her career.
MSU claimed consecutive Big Ten titles in convincing fashion with a dominating 10-stroke victory over Purdue, marking the first time MSU won back-to-back league crowns since winning five in a row from 1974-78. The Spartans reached the NCAA Championships for the eighth time in the past 13 years with a thrilling finish at the NCAA East Regional in State College, Pa. Needing a top-eight finish at the 24-team regional to reach nationals, the Spartans vaulted from 12th place to a tie for sixth in the third and final round after carding a 5-under-par 283, tying for the second-best round in program history. Leading the charge was senior Lindsey Solberg, who carded a school single-round record with a 5-under 67. At the NCAA Championships in Franklin, Tenn., the Spartans finished 20th.
Leading the way once again for the Spartans was Powers, who earned honorable mention All-America and first-team All-Big Ten honors for the second straight season after compiling a 73.78 scoring average, second in program history only to her school record of 73.53 she set as a sophomore.
Solberg delivered her best season as Spartan as a senior in 2011-12 with a career-low 75.19 average to earn second-team All-Big Ten accolades. Solberg finished her career with the sixth-lowest scoring average in school history at 76.13 and was a three-time All-Big Ten selection. Nagel was also named second-team All-Big Ten, marking the sixth time in Slobodnik-Stoll's career at least three Spartans earned all-conference honors.
Slobodnik-Stoll led Michigan State to its ninth Big Ten title in school history and the third of her tenure in 2011, holding off three-time defending Big Ten Champion and defending National Champion Purdue by five strokes. MSU was awarded an automatic bid to the NCAA East Regional, marking the 13th straight NCAA appearance for the Spartans. Although the team narrowly missed the cut for the NCAA Championships, Powers qualified as an individual and went on to place sixth, the best-ever showing by a Spartan at nationals. It capped a record-setting year for Powers, as the honorable mention All-American and first-team All-Big Ten selection established a new MSU single-season low average with a 73.53. Powers also earned Big Ten Golfer of the Week honors in mid-April as she won the Lady Buckeye Invitational and helped the Spartans win the team title. In addition to Powers, Neff garnered All-Big Ten honors for the fourth straight year by making the first team, while Solberg was named to the second team. The Spartans finished the season ranked No. 16 in the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings.
In 2009-10, MSU claimed three tournament titles (Mary Fossum Invitational, Tar Heel Invitational, Gator Invitational), placed second at the Big Ten Championships, and earned a berth to the NCAA Regionals for the 12th consecutive year. In one of the biggest regular-season tournament wins for the program, the Spartans claimed the Tar Heel Invitational by 12 strokes over nine top-25 teams after shooting a then-school record score of 860 (-4), earning National Team of the Week honors.
Kueny, who set a then single-season scoring average record at MSU with a 73.85, was named the 2010 Big Ten Golfer of the Year and a second-team All-American. She finished her career as the all-time scoring average leader (74.60) at MSU. In addition, MSU tied a program record with four players (Natalie Brehm, Aimee Neff, Caroline Powers, Lindsey Solberg) earning WGCA All-Scholar accolades.
The Spartans advanced to the NCAA Championships for the seventh time in the past 10 years during the 2008-09 season, posting the program's third-best finish in school history by tying for 13th place. MSU also defeated top-seed and third-ranked UCLA in the Hooter's Match Play Championships in November.
Individually, Kueny became the program's 10th All-American, as her 74.50 season scoring average ranked third all-time in program history. In addition to Kueny, Solberg was also a WGCA All-Central Region pick. Solberg was second on the team with a 76.81 scoring average and led the Spartans at both the NCAA Central Regional, where she finished sixth, and the NCAA Championships with a tie for 39th. Solberg and Neff were each named to the All-Big Ten second team.
In 2007-08, the Spartans posted three tournament wins (Mary Fossum Invitational, CDI, "Mo"Morial) and seven top five finishes in 11 events, earning them a top-20 finish in all three national polls. MSU placed second at the Big Ten Championships, their eighth top-three finish under Slobodnik-Stoll, and finished 11th at the NCAA West Regional, one stroke short of an NCAA berth. At season's end, Brown, who set the school's single-season and career stroke average records, was named an honorable mention All-American, the third under Slobodnik-Stoll, and the George Alderton Female Athlete of the Year for the second time. Brown was joined by Kueny on the All-Big Ten first team, while Neff was named to the second team. Also, Brown posted three individual titles, while Kueny added her first career win. After the Spartans' win at the "Mo"Morial, they were named Golfweek's National Team of the Week and had previously been named to the publication's team of the week honor week after their win at the CDI.
The 2006-07 Spartans were ranked among the nation's top 25 throughout the season, achieving a final ranking of 19th after a 16th-place finish at the NCAA Championships. The team posted wins on their home course, Forest Akers West, in the Lady Northern and the Big Ten Championship, and finished in second place four times. Two individuals won medalist honors, with Brown winning the Landfall Tradition and Rachel Meikle winning the Big Ten Championship - the second time an MSU golfer has won the tournament under Slobodnik-Stoll. In the process, Slobodnik-Stoll earned her second Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year award. Brown (first team) and Meikle (second team) were joined by Mandi McConnell (second team) on the All-Big Ten teams, while Brown also took home the George Alderton Female Athlete of the Year.
The 2005-06 edition of Michigan State women's golf opened the season by not only winning the Mary Fossum Invitational (Sept. 17-18) but setting a tournament record with a three-day team total of 889 (299-295-295). The Spartans went on to earn a berth in the NCAA Central Regional for the eighth consecutive season. A youthful squad in 2004-05, Michigan State did not have a single senior as a member of the traveling party, yet advanced to the NCAA Championships for the fifth time in six years en route to a 17th-place finish that season. In addition to the NCAA Championships, MSU closed out the season with a championship at the Buckeye Invitational, a third-place showing at the Big Ten Championship and a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Central Regionals.
The 2003-04 squad, which finished ranked 19th in the Golfweek/Sagarin poll, won three tournament titles (Badger, Mary Fossum and Boilermaker) and also captured the Spartan/Wildcat Cup in February. MSU placed third at both the Big Ten Championships and the NCAA Central Regionals, while advancing to the NCAA Championships. MSU's third-place showing in regional play equaled the team's best-ever showing. Three Spartans (Allison Fouch - first team, and Ann Marie Kersten and Sarah Martin - second team) picked up All-Big Ten accolades and Fouch earned honorable mention All-America honors after placing tied for 16th at the 2004 NCAA Championship.
Although the team included just four returning letterwinners, the 2002-03 Spartans finished in the top 10 in nine of 11 tournaments including a season-best third-place showing at the Mary Fossum Invitational. It also marked MSU's fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Regional Championships where the Spartans fell just short of advancing to the NCAA Championships.
Michigan State made its third straight trip to the NCAA Championship in 2002, where the Spartans placed 19th. MSU, which finished the year ranked 14th by Golfweek/Sagarin, also hosted the 2002 NCAA Central Region Championships at Forest Akers West Golf Course in May. Overall, MSU captured three titles (Pine Needles Invitational, Central District Classic and the USF Waterlefe Invitational). Bastel was named the George Alderton Female Athlete of the Year for the second time.
Slobodnik-Stoll's work ethic paid off in the spring of 2001 as she led MSU to its first Big Ten Championship since 1982. The Spartans placed third at the NCAA West Regionals and posted the school's then best-ever finish at the NCAA Championships with a 12th-place showing. MSU finished the year ranked 16th in the Mastercard Collegiate rankings, while Golfweek had MSU ranked 19th. For her efforts, Slobodnik-Stoll was named the 2001 Big Ten Coach of the Year.
During the 1999-2000 season, Slobodnik-Stoll led MSU to a runner-up finish at the Big Ten Championships and its first NCAA Championships appearance since 1984. The Spartans also broke into the national rankings for the first time and finished the year ranked 19th in the country. After the school year, Bastel was named the program's first George Alderton Female Athlete of the Year winner.
Slobodnik-Stoll's first season (1997-98) as head coach was highlighted by a second-place finish in the newly-named Mary Fossum Invitational in the fall and a record-setting campaign by then-freshman Kasey Gant. That success multiplied in 1998-99, however, as the Spartans engineered the biggest one-year turnaround in Big Ten history (ninth to third in the conference tournament). Michigan State reached the NCAA East Regional that year as well and Slobodnik was named Midwest District Coach of the Year.
A three-year letterwinner at Michigan State, the Kentwood, Mich., native captained the 1992-93 and 1993-94 Spartan squads and shot 11 rounds in the 70s during her final campaign at MSU. After earning her bachelor's degree in communication in 1994, Slobodnik-Stoll played professionally while living in Orlando, Fla. She saw action on the Futures Tour and the Central Florida Challenge for one year prior to returning to MSU in 1995 as an assistant to the legendary coach Mary Fossum.
"One of the goals when I came back as an assistant was to learn everything I could from Mary (Fossum) and use her tools while incorporating my knowledge and philosophy as well," said Slobodnik-Stoll. "Mary is a special person, and I can't thank her enough for all she's done for me."
Slobodnik-Stoll had the opportunity to gain international coaching experience during the summer of 2002 as she served as the head coach for Team USA in the USA-Japan Matches at the Glen Club in Glenville, Ill. The Spartan coach also continues to hone her own golf game, winning Michigan State Amateur titles in 1996 and 1998 en route to earning Golf Association of Michigan Player of the Year, an award she won for the third time in 2007. In addition, she won seven Golf Association of Michigan Mid-Amateur Championships in an eight-year span (2005-2010, 2012) and has claimed and the GAM Tournament of Club Champions on three occasions (2004, 2007, 2009). For all of her efforts on the course, Slobodnik-Stoll was named the GAM Women's Player of the Decade in 2010.
Slobodnik-Stoll has qualified for the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship four times (1994, 1996, 1998, 2001) and in 1997, she participated as an amateur at the LPGA Oldsmobile Classic at Walnut Hills Country Club in East Lansing and fired a 77-73, missing the cut by just four strokes.
In 1996, Slobodnik-Stoll finished fourth among amateurs at the Michigan Women's Open Tournament and in 1998, she won the Golf Association of Michigan Women's Stroke Play Championship. She was the top amateur finisher at the 2004 Michigan Women's Open Championship.
Born Sept. 8, 1971, Slobodnik-Stoll received her master's degree in sports administration from Michigan State in 1999. She resides in Haslett with her husband Jim Stoll and daughter Olivia, born Sept. 29, 2003.
SLOBODNIK-STOLL: BY THE NUMBERS
3 - Big Ten Coach of the Year Awards
THE SLOBODNIK-STOLL FILE
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