April 29, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State women's golf team is headed to the NCAA Regionals for a 15th consecutive year.
The Spartans earned a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Central Regional, the NCAA Committee announced Monday night. The Spartans will head to the Jimmie Austin Oklahoma University Golf Course on May 9-11 in Norman, Okla., for regional action.
The NCAA Women's Golf Championships are divided into three regional sites and conclude with the finals May 21-24 at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga. 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.
"It's an awesome accomplishment to make 15 NCAA Tournaments - I can't believe I've been coaching for that long," said MSU head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll. "I'm very proud of this team. I think it once again shows that we've established ourselves as one of the best teams in the country, year in and year out, and that's very exciting."
The complete field for the NCAA Central Regional (in order of seeds) is as follows: Duke, Oklahoma, Florida, Washington, Arizona State, UC Davis, Texas Tech, North Carolina State, Michigan State, Iowa State, SMU, Campbell, Coastal Carolina, Wake Forest, TCU, Gonzaga, Indiana, Texas-San Antonio, Mississippi State, Wisconsin, Lamar, Illinois State, Detroit and Butler.
Michigan State enters the NCAA Central Regional after placing third at the Big Ten Championships over the weekend at the Donald Ross Course at French Lick (Ind.) Resort. The Spartans fell just short of winning their third straight Big Ten title, falling to Northwestern and Purdue by five strokes; the Wildcats and Boilermakers split the conference crown.
"We feel great about the field at the Central Regional," Slobodnik-Stoll said. "It's game time for us now. We came very close to reaching our goal of winning the Big Ten Championship, but we didn't, so now our eye is on making it to the NCAA Championships and finishing top 10 in the nation, which no team at Michigan State has ever done before.
"We don't know anything about this course, but we will very soon. We're going to start researching it and we'll be very prepared. We usually do well on courses we've only seen once - we won Big Ten's last year at the Ross Course and two years ago in Chicago (after only seeing the course once in a practice round), so we feel like we get the team prepared with that one day practice round."
MSU is listed at No. 26 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. The Spartans placed in the top five in five of their nine tournaments this season while playing the nation's 25th-most difficult schedule, including a victory in the Lady Buckeye Invitational on April 21. Slobodnik-Stoll has won 31 tournaments total since taking over the program in 1997.
Michigan State is led by senior Caroline Powers, who owns a 73.64 scoring average and has placed in the top 10 in six of MSU's nine tournaments this season. Powers finished runner-up at the Big Ten Championships with a 3-over 219 and was named to the All-Championships Team for the third straight year. The Bowling Green, Ohio, native is ranked No. 23 in the nation by Golfweek.
Junior Allyssa Ferrell ranks second on the team with a 75.52 average and is fresh off her best-career finish as placed fifth at the Big Ten Championships. Fellow junior Christine Meier is third with 76.40 average and tied for a career-high third place at the Big Ten Championships. Both Ferrell and Meier landed spots on the Big Ten All-Championships Team.
Junior Liz Nagel also has experience in the postseason, as she was in the starting lineup on last year's team that advanced to the NCAA Championships.
Michigan State's 15 straight NCAA appearances is the third-longest streak in the Big Ten, behind Ohio State (19) and Purdue (16). The Spartans have twice placed third at the NCAA Regionals, in 2001 and 2004.
MSU will be looking to make its 11th appearance at the NCAA Championships with a top-eight finish at the NCAA Central Regional. The Spartans have participated in the NCAA Championships eight out of the last 13 years, with the last appearance arriving last season following a sixth-place finish at the NCAA East Regional in State College, Pa. MSU placed 20th at the 2012 NCAA Championships in Franklin, Tenn.
Live scoring of the NCAA Central Regional will be available at www.golfstat.com.