Women's Golf Fall Recap
Nov. 16, 2011
After four fall tournaments, Michigan State women's golf head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll has a better idea of where her team stands going into the all-important spring season.
The defending Big Ten Champion Spartans, ranked 26th in the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings, once again played a demanding schedule at some of the most prestigious tournaments in the nation.
After an eighth-place start at the Texas A&M "Mo"Morial on Sept. 13, the Spartans bounced back to win the Mary Fossum Invitational Sept. 18 at their home course, marking the seventh time in the past nine years they have won the event. MSU also tied for eighth at the Tar Heel Invitational Oct. 9 and tied for fifth at the Landfall Tradition Oct. 30.
"I think we had a good fall - so many positive things - but I definitely think there's room for improvement," said Slobodnik-Stoll. "It seemed like every tournament we just struggled a bit in the fourth spot. Playing five and counting four, we really need four solid scores. We counted too many high scores. That fourth score is so important; I think it would have made quite a bit of difference in several of the tournaments.
"The great news is we have all the potential to do that (get better), it's just helping the kids achieve that and working on some of their skills and things that we need to clean up before we head to L.A. in February."
Powers, who has been nothing short of spectacular her entire career, somehow continues to raise her level of play. After setting a school record with her 73.53 average as a sophomore, she is threatening to break her own record this season with a 72.92 average through 12 rounds of play.
The Bowling Green, Ohio, native placed in the top 10 in three tournaments this fall, including a first-place showing at the Mary Fossum Invitational at Forest Akers West in September and a record-setting performance at the Tar Heel Invitational in October, where she set an MSU 54-hole record with an 8-under 208. Powers also tied a school record with a round of 68 at the Tar Heel Invitational.
Powers, who was named the Big Ten Golfer of the Week twice, finished the fall ranked No. 9 in the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings.
"Caroline is an amazing person, not just a golfer," Slobodnik-Stoll said. "She's a phenomenal student and representative of Michigan State, our program, and the community. If you met her, you would never know that this is Caroline Powers, the kid who is breaking every record at Michigan State. She's very humble, and that's what makes her so special. It's just really fun to watch."
Solberg is second on the team with a 75.00 average and is ranked No. 66 in the nation by Golfweek. She placed in the top 10 in two tournaments, tying for sixth at the Mary Fossum Invitational and closing the fall by tying for fourth at the Landfall Tradition.
"Lindsey is our true competitor," remarked Slobodnik-Stoll. "She's competitive in everything that she does. I think there's some sense that it's her senior year, and she wants to go out with a bang. She's fun to have around and is always making everyone laugh. She's done an awesome job of really stepping up her game her senior season, so we're very excited about the spring for Lindsey."
The challenge heading into the spring will be finding the right combination of players to round out the starting lineup.
Slobodnik-Stoll used a different starting lineup in every fall tournament, as two freshmen (Trisha Witherby, Jenny Sritragul) and three sophomores (Allyssa Ferrell, Christine Meier, Liz Nagel) all saw time as starters.
"Over the winter and once spring starts, that's going to be our job, to figure out who the 3-4-5 players are," said Slobodnik-Stoll. "They all at one time or another have played great. But on the golf team in a Division I college sport, we need kids that are going to compete every single time we tee it up. So we're going to be looking for that consistency and be helping them with that consistency over time."
After seeing action in eight tournaments as a true freshman, Ferrell started three times this fall and is third on the team with a 76.22 scoring average. She placed a career-high eighth at the Mary Fossum Invitational and shot a career-low 221 at the Tar Heel Invitational.
Meier, also a sophomore, started in nine tournaments as a freshman in 2010-11 and has played in three events so far this season, compiling a 79.00 average.
Red-shirt sophomore Liz Nagel started in three tournaments, including a 10th-place showing at the Mary Fossum Invitational. She heads into the spring with a 77.22 average.
True freshman Trisha Witherby also qualified for the starting lineup three times and posted an 80.33 average, while Jenny Sritragul started at the Mary Fossum Invitational and played as an individual at the Texas A&M "Mo"Morial.
"It all comes down to April and May and putting forth the best five we have on this team," Slobodnik-Stoll said. "Again, we have the ammunition, it's just helping them improve in little ways to make sure that they're posting scores that we can count in that third and fourth spot every time."
Michigan State begins the spring season Feb. 13-15 at the Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes, Calif.
at the official