Women's golf joins Michigan's Big Ten title parade, will host NCAA regional – Detroit News

Women's golf joins Michigan's Big Ten title parade, will host NCAA regional – Detroit News

In 2020, the Michigan women’s golf team was in prime position to contend for a Big Ten championship. But the season was cut short, and the postseason canceled, amid the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two years later, the Wolverines have made up for that lost time, winning the program’s first Big Ten championship, by four shots over runner-up Michigan State on Sunday in Pittsburgh.
Michigan has made the NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive year, and will play at home. Michigan is hosting a regional at the UM Golf Course from May 9-11. Twelve teams will compete in Ann Arbor, with the top four from each of six regionals moving on to the NCAA Finals later in the month in Arizona.
“The contracts (to host regionals) were signed four, five, six years ago, somewhere around there,” Michigan golf coach Jan Dowling said. “So I guess this is a little bit of fate and good timing.
“It’s exciting to be at home, but at the same time, we’ve got to get the job done.
“There are going to be some great teams coming in.”
Michigan is one of three state programs to make the NCAA Tournament, along with Horizon League champion Oakland, which will open in Ann Arbor, and Michigan State, which will play in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
The Wolverines were led in the Big Ten tournament by sophomore Monet Chun, who shot a final-round 69 to finish at 205, or 8 under, to win medalist honors by four shots. was Michigan’s second-ever medalist, joining Elodie Van Dievoet, who won in 2017. Chun’s 205 was a Big Ten record, beating Van Dievoet’s 210.
Michigan junior Mikaela Schulz (Bloomfield Hills) tied for 17th place; senior Ashley Lau, Michigan’s first Big Ten golfer of the year after leading the conference in scoring average at 71.70, and junior Hailey Borja tied for 30th; and senior Sophia Trombetta and graduate student Ashley Kim, who returned for a fifth season afforded by COVID rules, tied for 48th.
Chun and Michigan State sophomore Leila Raines, who tied for ninth, made the all-championship team.
“It’s a huge deal,” said Dowling, in her ninth season as head coach. “We’ve been waiting for this for a long time, and it’s been a goal of ours for a long time.
“We were seeing things trend the right way. We all wanted to believe, we all felt like we could do it, but until you actually do, you know, there’s a bit of a mental hurdle to get over. But they did it.”
Dowling said last season’s showing, when Michigan finished second in the Big Ten championships, was a big confidence boost entering this season.
Now, the women’s golf program joins an ever-growing list of Michigan athletic programs that have won a Big Ten championship since the start of 2021.
According to a tweet posted this week by 247Sports’ Zach Shaw, that list includes 15 programs: football, men’s basketball, hockey, softball, men’s gymnastics, women’s gymnastics, wrestling, field hockey, women’s soccer, rowing, men’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, water polo and women’s golf.
“Yeah, we’ve got a lot of momentum going on in our athletic department,” said Dowling, who, on Wednesday, was named Big Ten coach of the year. “It’s just great to see. … It’s probably a little bit contagious.
“We set high standards four our teams, and we’re given great resources to be successful, and this is sort of what happens.”
Michigan — which will host another regional in 2026; Michigan State’s Forest Akers West will host in 2024 — will play in its fourth NCAA Tournament out of the last six.
San Jose State is the No. 1 seed in the Ann Arbor region, followed by Virginia, Michigan, Arkansas, Central Florida, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Washington, Ohio State, Pepperdine, Xavier and Oakland.
Michigan State, a No. 5 seed in the Stillwater regional, is in its 22nd NCAA Tournament out of the last 24 in head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll’s 25 years. The Spartans are led by senior Valery Plata, who was first-team All-Big Ten along with Michigan’s Lau and Borja.
Oakland, meanwhile, has made the NCAA Tournament for the second time since joining the Horizon League, after qualifying for the first time in 2016.
The Golden Grizzlies, playing at Howey in the Hills, Florida, scored a 10-shot victory over Green Bay. Oakland was led by Amalia Shahzan, a graduate student from Malaysia who won medalist honors in dominating fashion. At 7 under, she was the only player in the field to finish under par. She won by 15 shots.
Shahzan became the second Oakland player to win medalist honors, for the second Oakland team to win the Horizon League championship. She was joined on the all-championship team by Detroit Mercy graduate student Alexa Hatz (Novi), who finished tied for fourth.
Oakland freshman Nateda Her (Holt) finished seventh, freshman Ashley Chinn tied for 20th, graduate student Veronica Haque (Rochester) tied for 27th and junior Emily Fleming tied for 31st.
“It’s pretty amazing. It was a good feeling,” said Alyssa Gaudio, the first head coach exclusive to the women’s program in Oakland history who is stepping down at season’s end to be closer to family in Illinois, with a second child on the way.
“We struggled a little bit this spring at tournaments. We had players in and out of the lineup with just different things going on, so we weren’t quite sure how we’d fare going into it. We knew we were one of the best teams there, but on any given day, anybody can play well.
“It was pretty special to just watch them play their best.”
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