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Spartan Women's Golf Travels to Oklahoma for NCAA Central Regional

Big Ten Golfer of the Year Caroline Powers looks to lead the Spartans to a top-eight finish at the NCAA Central Regional to qualify MSU for the NCAA Championships.

May 8, 2013

2013 NCAA Central Regional
 Dates Thursday, May 9 - Saturday, May 11
 Location Norman, Okla. | Jimmie Austin OU Club
 Par | Yardage 72 | 6,298 yards
 Tee Times Thursday: 8:30 a.m. ET (hole 1)
 Tournament Information NCAA Central Regional Website
 Notes/Statistics Spartan NCAA Regional Notes
 Teams (24) No. 3 Duke, No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 12 Florida, No. 10 Washington, No. 13 Arizona State, No. 25 UC Davis, No. 24 Texas Tech, No. 20 North Carolina State, No. 26 Michigan State, No. 22 Iowa State, No. 36 SMU, No. 35 Campbell, No. 42 Coastal Carolina, No. 37 Wake Forest, No. 45 TCU, No. 46 Gonzaga, No. 57 Indiana, No. 51 Texas-San Antonio, No. 55 Mississippi State, No. 58 Wisconsin, No. 87 Lamar, No. 135 Illinois State, No. 170 Detroit and No. 179 Butler. (Teams listed in order of seeds; all rankings according to Golfweek)
 Internet Coverage Live results at
 Postseason History Spartan NCAA Regional History
 Social Media @msuwomensgolf

The Michigan State women's golf team heads to the NCAA Central Regional in Norman, Okla., this week (Thursday-Saturday, May 9-11) at the par 72, 6,298-yard Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club. The Spartans are the No. 9 seed in the 24-team regional. This marks the 15th consecutive year MSU has made postseason play.

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.

Michigan State will be starting senior Caroline Powers, juniors Allyssa Ferrell, Christine Meier and Liz Nagel, and sophomore Trisha Witherby in the NCAA Central Regional.

The Spartans have twice placed third at the NCAA Regionals, in 2001 and 2004. MSU advanced to the NCAA Championships last season after a record-setting third round at the NCAA East Regional on May 12 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.

MSU will be looking to make its second consecutive appearance and 11th overall 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.

Michigan State enters the NCAA Central Regional ranked No. 26 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. The Spartans fell just short in their quest for a three-peat at the Big Ten Championships, as they placed five strokes behind co-champions Northwestern and Purdue.

In its last tournament of the regular season, MSU won the Lady Buckeye Invitational by seven shots over Purdue, marking head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll's 31st tournament victory since taking over the program in 1997. Michigan State also placed second at the Mary Fossum Invitational in September in East Lansing and third at both the Mason Rudolph Championship (Sept. 21-23) at the Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn., and the Central District Invitational (Feb. 18-19) at the River Wilderness Country Club in Parrish, Fla.

Although the Spartans feature just one senior in their lineup, four of MSU's five starters (Caroline Powers, Allyssa Ferrell, Christine Meier and Liz Nagel) have experience playing in the NCAA Regionals.

"I think they're pretty motivated after the Big Ten Championships," said Slobodnik-Stoll. "To not achieve that goal, which was really sitting in the palm of our hands, the goal of finishing in the top 10 at nationals is still looming. To know that you're going to do something that no other team at Michigan State has ever done is really on all of our radars right now, and knowing we have the ability to do that. If the five of them play like they have been playing, and like we know they can play, we're going to be just fine."

HEAD COACH Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll
Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll, who is in her 16th year as head coach at MSU, has led MSU to four Big Ten titles (2001, 2007, 2011, 2012), eight trips to the NCAA Championships (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2012) and 15 straight appearances in the NCAA Regionals. Slobodnik-Stoll was named the 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year, marking the third time in her career she was won the award (2001, 2007).

Michigan State's streak of 15 straight NCAA appearances is the third longest in the Big Ten, behind Ohio State (19) and Purdue (16).

"It's a great feeling - 15 years in a row is quite an accomplishment," said Slobodnik-Stoll. "We're very proud of that."

Senior Caroline Powers, who was named the 2013 Big Ten Women's Golfer of the Year, owns a 73.64 scoring average and has six top-10 finishes in MSU's nine tournaments this season. She 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 three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection is ranked No. 23 in the nation by Golfweek and had the highest Golfweek/Sagarin rating in Big Ten competition with a 72.11.

Powers tied for first place at the Central District Invitational on Feb. 19 in Parrish, Fla., and also placed second at the Mary Fossum Invitational and the Mason Rudolph Championship in the fall. She has been named Big Ten Golfer of the Week three times this season and six times in her career, which is third most in conference history. Powers leads the team in birdies (76) and has shot under-par in six rounds this season.

With a career scoring average of 74.25, Powers is on pace to own the lowest average in school history (Laura Kueny, 74.60). She has placed in the top five in 14 career tournaments and in the top 10 on 21 occasions, including three tournament victories (2011 Lady Buckeye Invitational, 2011 Mary Fossum Invitational, 2012 Central District Invitational).

Powers also has the top-three season averages in school history (MSU record 73.53 in 2010-11; 73.64 this season; 73.78 in 2012-13). She placed sixth at the 2011 NCAA Championships, the highest ever by a Spartan at nationals, and is the third Spartan to be named the Big Ten Golfer of the Year (Emily Bastel, 2002; Kueny, 2010).

"The last three regionals have been pretty up and down - I think every possibility that could have happened I've experienced," said Powers, who qualified individually for the NCAA Championships in 2011 and on the team in 2012 but missed the cut as a team in 2010. "I think that plays into it, and just knowing that it's easy to get ahead of yourself and it's easy to think about nationals, but you have to take care of business each step at a time."

Junior Allyssa Ferrell is coming off back-to-back top-10 finishes with a seventh-place showing at the Lady Buckeye Invitational and a career-best fifth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships. The second-team All-Big Ten selection ranks second on the team in scoring average (75.52), birdies (59) and sub-par rounds (4). Ferrell carded the best single-round of the year for the Spartans with a 3-under 69 in the second round of the Mary Fossum Invitational on Sept. 15.

Christine Meier, who was also named to the All-Big Ten Second Team, is third on the team with a 76.40 average and tied for a career-high third place at the Big Ten Championships with a 4-over 220. She tied for ninth in the first tournament of the season at the Mary Fossum Invitational in September, and also delivered a top-20 showing with an 18th-place finish at the Lady Buckeye Invitational. Meier ranks third on the team with 48 birdies.

"The whole atmosphere is a lot different than any other tournament," said Meier of playing in the postseason. "We have a lot of heart, and a lot of talent on our team. That's one thing that coach has said all year, that we have one of the most talented teams in the country and we can shoot those scores. We proved it (last year at Penn State in the East Regional). We have almost everyone returning and Trisha (Witherby) is playing great."

Junior Liz Nagel, who shot a 69 in the third round of the NCAA East Regional last season, returns to the starting lineup in the postseason for a second straight year. She is fourth on the team with a 77.09 scoring average. Nagel placed a career-best third at the Lady Buckeye Invitational in April.

Sophomore Trisha Witherby will be making her first appearance at NCAA Regionals; she tied for 26th in her first showing at the Big Ten Championships. Witherby has competed in six tournaments this season and owns a 77.56 average.

Live scoring of the NCAA Central Regional will be available at Michigan State will tee off from the first hole at 7:30 a.m. for the first round on Thursday, along with North Carolina State and Texas Tech.



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