Spartans Headed to NCAA Regionals for 14th Straight Year
After winning the Big Ten Championship, Michigan State earns a No. 9 seed in the East Regional.
April 30, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - After winning its second straight Big Ten Championship on Sunday, the Michigan State women's golf team has earned a No. 9 seed in the NCAA East Regional, the NCAA Committee announced Monday night. The Spartans will head to the Penn State Golf Course (Blue Course) on May 10-12 in State College, Pa., for regional action.
This marks the 14th consecutive year MSU has made postseason play; the Spartans were automatic qualifiers this season after claiming the Big Ten title.
The NCAA Women's Golf Championships are divided into three regional sites and conclude with the finals May 23-26 at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn., outside of Nashville. 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.
"We hope it's a staple item for the program," said Michigan State head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll on MSU's streak of 14 straight appearances in the NCAA Regionals. "It's definitely an accomplishment to make the NCAA Regional, it says that you're one of the best in the country - but truly our goal is to qualify for the national championships...We certainly hope to be in the field of the top 24 teams in the nation in a couple of weeks."
The complete field for the NCAA East Regional (in order of seeds) is as follows: Alabama, Arizona State, Duke, Texas A&M, Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Michigan State, Washington, Texas, Tulane, Central Florida, Wake Forest, Northwestern, San Diego State, Kent State, Maryland, Augusta State, Campbell, Chattanooga, Oral Roberts, Jacksonville State and LIU Brooklyn.
Michigan State enters the NCAA East Regional after winning the program's 10th Big Ten Championship over the weekend at the Donald Ross Course at French Lick (Ind.) Resort. The Spartans beat Purdue by 10 strokes. It also marked the fourth Big Ten title during Slobodnik-Stoll's 15-year career at MSU.
MSU is listed at No. 21 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. In addition to the Big Ten Championships, the Spartans won the 2011 Mary Fossum Invitational in September, which was held at MSU's Forest Akers West Course. Slobodnik-Stoll has won 30 tournaments total since taking over the program in 1997.
Although the Spartans feature just one senior in their lineup, four of MSU's five starters have experience playing in the NCAA Regionals.
"I think their confidence is building after winning two Big Ten Championships," Slobodnik-Stoll said. "Everyone is feeling very good about their games right now. I just think that year of experience that everyone has (playing in last year's NCAA East Regional) is going to make us feel a lot more comfortable being in the position of knowing what we have to do to get in the national championship field."
Michigan State is led by junior Caroline Powers, who owns a 73.77 scoring average and has placed in the top 10 in six of MSU's 10 tournaments this season. Powers tied for third at the Big Ten Championships with a 2-over 218 and was named to the All-Championships Team for the second straight year.
Senior Lindsey Solberg also tied for third at the Big Ten Championships and is second on the team with a career-best 75.73 scoring average. For her career-best showing at the Big Ten Championships, she garnered all-tournament team honors for the second consecutive season.
Red-shirt sophomore Liz Nagel has been one of the team's most consistent golfers down the stretch, placing in the top 20 in three of her last four tournaments. Playing in her first career Big Ten Championships, Nagel tied for 18th with a 228. The DeWitt, Mich., native is third on the Spartans with a 75.86 average in seven tournaments; this will mark her first NCAA Regionals appearance.
Sophomores Allyssa Ferrell and Christine Meier came up big for the Spartans on the final day of the Big Ten Championships, carding a 73 and a 74, respectively. Ferrell tied for 14th overall with a 225, marking her fourth career top-20 finish, while Meier tied for 36th with a 235. For the season, Ferrell has a 76.56 average, and Meier is at 77.0.
Michigan State's 14 straight NCAA appearances is the third-longest streak in the Big Ten, behind Ohio State (18) and Purdue (15). The Spartans have twice placed third at the NCAA Regionals, in 2001 and 2004.
MSU will be looking to make its 10th appearance at the NCAA Championships with a top-eight finish at the NCAA East Regional. The Spartans have participated in the NCAA Championships seven out of the last 12 years, with the last appearance arriving in 2009.
Live scoring of the NCAA East Regional will be available at www.golfstat.com.