Spartans are making their 19th NCAA Regional appearance in the last 20 seasons.
The Spartans are the No. 3 seed in the regional.
Three Spartans earn First Team All-Big Ten honors.
MSU wins its fifth Big Ten title in the last eight years.
Ally Geer is tied for second place and three Spartans are in the top 10.
2018 NCAA Austin Regional, May 7, 2018 Photos: John Weast
The driven former Spartan player and 2017 Michigan Golf Hall of Fame inductee was named head coach on June 20, 1997, and immediately began assembling the talent necessary to perennially contend for Big Ten Championships and compete at the national level.
In her 20 seasons as head coach, she has led the Spartans to 18 NCAA Regional appearances (1999-2014, 2016-17), 11 trips to the NCAA Championships (2000-03, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2012-14, 2017), and six Big Ten titles (2001, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2017). Additionally, Michigan State has won 35 tournaments during this span. Slobodnik-Stoll is a four-time Big Ten Coach of the Year (2001, 2007, 2012, 2017) 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 20 years, Slobodnik-Stoll's players have earned All-Big Ten honors 43 times, including 27 first-team selections. Four Spartans have been named the Big Ten Women's Golfer of the Year: Emily Bastel (2002), Laura Kueny (2010), Caroline Powers (2013) and Sarah Burnham (2017). Bastel was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame Class in 2012, while Kueny is currently playing on the Symetra Tour.
In addition, a Spartan player has claimed Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors on four occasions: Kasey Gant (1998), Bastel (1999), Dayna Burleigh (2003) and Allyson Geer (2017). Three Spartans have earned All-Big Ten honors four consecutive years: Gant (1998-2001), Bastel (1999-2002) and Aimee Neff (2008-11).
Six Spartans (Bastel, Fouch, Kueny, Sara Brown, Caroline Powers, Burnham) have garnered All-America accolades under Slobodnik-Stoll, and nine 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; Allyssa Ferrell in 2014; Burnham in 2017).
"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."
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. Liz Nagel also earned LPGA Tour status in 2015 with her showing at LPGA Qualifying School in 2014.
Bastel became just the second MSU golfer to be named to the Curtis Cup team in 2002, while Allison Fouch (2003), Laura Kueny (2010), Meier (2012) and Burnham (2015) qualified for the U.S. Women's Open Championship as amateurs.
In the classroom, Slobodnik-Stoll's teams have been just as successful as on the golf course. For the sixth consecutive year, the Michigan State women's golf team was honored with the Athletic Director's Award at the 2017 Spartan Academic Excellence Gala for achieving the highest team cumulative grade-point average after the 2016 fall semester. The program boasted a department-high cumulative GPA of 3.561.
In 2015, Jenny Sritragul was honored with the President's Award, which is the highest academic award in the department; the award recognizes the male and female graduating senior with the highest cumulative GPA and who has exhausted their eligibility. Sritragul boasted a 3.94 GPA in finance.
Eight Spartans earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2017 -- the most ever in program history. In Slobodnik-Stoll's tenure, Spartan student-athletes have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors on 83 occasions and Women's Golf Coaches Association All-Scholar honors 38 times.
The Spartans won the Athletic Director's Award in 2017 for the sixth consecutive year for having the highest cumulative team GPA in the MSU Athletic Department.
Michigan State returned to the top of the Big Ten in 2016-17 en route to making the program's 11th trip to the NCAA Championships. The Spartans' run to the league title started with winning the Lady Buckeye Invitational (April 15-17) for the sixth time in school history. The following weekend, MSU rallied from an eight stroke deficit on the final day of the Big Ten Championships to win their fourth league title in the last seven years.
MSU used its momentum to tie for its best finish ever at an NCAA Regional, placing third in the Athens Region to earn a spot in the NCAA Championships. The Spartans placed 19th at the NCAA Championships while Sarah Burnham placed 24th, finishing the season with a 72.57 scoring average, second only to her 72.42 recorded in 2016-16 for the best single-season average in program history.
Burnham was one of the school's most decorated student-athletes in 2016-17, earning Big Ten Player of the Year, the George Alderton MSU Female Co-Athlete of the Year and honorable mention All-America honors. Freshman Allyson Geer was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and finished with the team's second best scoring average at 74.08.
The 2015-16 squad registered five top-5 tournament finishes and earned a spot in the NCAA Regionals where they placed 11th. Honorable mention WGCA All-American and first-team All-Big Ten selection Sarah Burnham won a pair of tournaments (Landfall Tradition and Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate) and qualified to play in the NCAA Championships after winning a two-hole playoff in the third and final round of the NCAA Stanford Regional.
In 2014-15, Slobodnik-Stoll had the difficult challenge of replacing four starters from the team that advanced to the NCAA Championships for the third year in a row in 2014. The Spartans featured four new starters in the lineup, including three freshmen, and just narrowly missed out on their 17th consecutive bid to the NCAA Regionals by one spot in the Golfstat rankings, finishing at No. 57. MSU finished fourth at the Big Ten Championships with a team score of 878, the lowest 54-hole total in program history at the conference championships (54-hole format from 1981-84; 2012-15). Gabby Yurik was named first-team All-Big Ten after leading the team with a 75.33 scoring average and qualified as an individual for the NCAA South Bend Regional. In addition, Lindsey McPherson carded the lowest 54-hole total ever by a Spartan at the Big Ten Championships (217) and was named to the All-Championships Team.
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 in 2014 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 an 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.
Meier and 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 an 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, and 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 2014. 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 then 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 2013 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.
Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll, alongside her mentor and former MSU women's golf coach, Mary Fossum. The two have combined to win 12 Big Ten Championships.
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 2012 NCAA Championships with a thrilling finish at the NCAA East Regional in State College, Pennsylvania. 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, Tennessee, 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 Regional 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 Championships.
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, Michigan, 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, Florida. 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."
In June 2017, Slobodnik-Stoll joined fellow Spartans Mary Fossum (2002), Joyce Kazmierski (2003), Joan Garety (2005) and Sue Ertl (2010) in the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.
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, Illinois.
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 has won a record eight Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) Mid-Amateur Championships, including six in a row and seven in an eight-year span (2005-2010, 2012). She most recently won the GAM Mid-Amateur Championship in June 2015. She has also won 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.
SLOBODNIK-STOLL: BY THE NUMBERS
3 - Big Ten Coach of the Year Awards
6 - Big Ten Championships
18 - NCAA Regional Appearances
11 - NCAA Championship Appearances
35 - Team Tournament Wins
5 - All-Americans
4 - Big Ten Players of the Year
4 - Big Ten Freshmen of the Year
43 - All-Big Ten Selections (27 First Team)
83 - Academic All-Big Ten Selections
38 - NGCA Scholar All-America Honorees
9 - George Alderton Female Athlete of the Year
THE SLOBODNIK-STOLL FILE
East Kentwood High School, 1989
Michigan State University, B.A. 1994; M.S. 1999
Head Coach, Michigan State (1997-present)
Assistant Coach, Michigan State (1995-97)
1999 - Midwest Region Coach of the Year
2001 - Big Ten Coach of the Year
2002 - Head Coach of Team USA for USA-Japan Match
2007 - Big Ten Coach of the Year
2012 - Big Ten Coach of the Year
2017 - Big Ten Coach of the Year
1989 - Prep Super Team
1991 - Grand Rapids City Champion
1993 - Michigan State Captain
1994 - Michigan State Captain
1994-95 - Futures Tour
1994 - U.S. Amateur Championship Qualifier
1996 - State Amateur Champion
1996 - U.S. Amateur Championship Qualifier
1996 - Golf Association of Michigan Player of the Year
1997 - State Amateur Runner-Up
1998 - State Amateur Champion
1998 - Golf Association of Michigan Stroke Play Champion
1998 - U.S. Amateur Championship Qualifier
1998 - Golf Association of Michigan Player of the Year
2001 - U.S. Amateur Championship Qualifier
2004 - Michigan Open Low Amateur
2005 - GAM Women's Mid-Amateur Champion
2006 - GAM Women's Mid-Amateur Champion
2007 - GAM Women's Mid-Amateur Champion
2007 - Golf Association of Michigan Women's Player of the Year
2008 - GAM Women's Mid-Amateur Champion
2008 - Golf Association of Michigan Women's Player of the Year
2009 - GAM Women's Mid-Amateur Champion
2010 - Named GAM Female Player of the Decade
2010 - GAM Women's Mid-Amateur Champion
2012 - GAM Women's Mid-Amateur Champion
2015 - GAM Women's Mid-Amateur Champion