April 28, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State women's golf team is headed to the NCAA Regionals for a 16th consecutive year.
The Spartans, who earned the Big Ten's automatic bid after claiming a share of the Big Ten Championship on Sunday in French Lick, Ind., received a No. 8 seed in the NCAA West Regional, the NCAA Committee announced Monday night. The Spartans will head to the Tumble Creek Club at Suncadia Resort on May 8-10 in Cle Elum, Wash., for regional action. The tournament will be hosted by the University of Washington.
"I like to keep the standards high in this program," said MSU head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll. "I don't ever want it to be something that we just expect, because it is the NCAA Tournament, and anything can happen at any time. We're very proud of our streak and want to keep it going as long as possible."
The NCAA Women's Golf Championships are divided into three regional sites and conclude with the finals May 20-23 at the Tulsa Country Club in Tulsa, Okla. Each regional site hosts 24 teams and six individuals, with the top eight teams and two individuals in each region advancing to the finals. The tournament format is 54 holes over three days.
The complete field for the NCAA West Regional (in order of seeds) is as follows: Southern California. Arizona State, Oklahoma, Washington, Clemson, Wake Forest, Northwestern, Michigan State, Iowa State, GRU-Augusta, Oregon, Texas A&M, UC Davis, Denver, San Diego State, Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Chattanooga, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Portland State and Detroit.
Michigan State enters the NCAA West Regional after capturing a share of the Big Ten title with Ohio State; there is no playoff to determine a conference champion in the Big Ten. MSU officially received the Big Ten's automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals on the tiebreaker, which goes to the team with the lowest cumulative score for all six golfers (format of the tournament for team score is play six, count four).
"This course is located at an incredible resort in the middle of the state of Washington," Slobodnik-Stoll said. "It's going to be an NCAA Tournament, but it's also going to be a fun adventure. I think it will be a great experience for all of us. The temperature looks like it's going to be pretty chilly, but we're used to that, so that's good. I've never been to the course, but we'll certainly be doing our homework on it."
MSU is listed at No. 27 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. The Spartans placed in the top five in four of their 10 tournaments this season while playing the nation's 28th-most difficult schedule, including a victory in the Mary Fossum Invitational in September. Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll has won 33 tournaments total since taking over the program in 1997.
Nagel leads the team with a 74.50 scoring average and has posted five top-10 finishes this season, including a ninth-place showing at the Big Ten Championships. She claimed medalist honors at the Fossum Invitational.
Ferrell, who sank a 9-foot putt on the last shot of the Big Ten Championships to clinch a share of the title for the Spartans, is right behind Nagel with a 74.54 average. Ferrell tied for fifth at the conference tournament and was named to the All-Championships Team for the second year in a row. The Edgerton, Wis., native set a MSU 54-hole record by shooting a 9-under 207 at the Central District Invitational in February, and has finished in the top-10 four times this season.
Meier will be making her fourth appearance at NCAA Regionals. The product of Rochester Hills, Mich., tied a school record by tying for sixth place at the NCAA Championship last season. She owns a 76.84 scoring average this season and tied for 18th at the Big Ten Championships for her 10th career top-20 finish.
Freshman Kelly Grassel ranks third on the team with a 75.21 scoring average. She tied for seventh in her first Big Ten Championships over the week and placed runner-up at the Lady Buckeye Invitational on April 20.
Red-shirt freshman Gabby Yurik (tied for seventh) and junior Lindsey McPherson (tied for ninth) both posted career-best finishes at the Big Ten Championships in helping lead the Spartans to their third Big Ten title in four years and 11th overall.
Michigan State's 16 straight NCAA appearances is the second-longest streak in the Big Ten (Ohio State, 20). The Spartans have twice placed third at the NCAA Regionals, in 2001 and 2004.
MSU will be looking to make its 12th appearance at the NCAA Championships with a top-eight finish at the NCAA Central Regional. The Spartans have participated in the NCAA Championships nine out of the last 14 years, with the last appearance arriving last season following an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Central Regional in Norman, Okla. MSU placed a school-record ninth at the 2013 NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga.
Live scoring of the NCAA West Regional will be available at ncaa.com.