Detroit enters postseason with nine season victories
Detroit has entered the bonus period. With nine victories so far this season and Horizon League Championship rings on the way, anything else that happens this spring is only icing on the cake.
“That’s the tournament where, when we think about it, everything we do is, ‘Do this for the Horizon League,’ ” said junior Lindsey Lammers, Detroit’s leading scorer.
The Titans accomplished the unthinkable April 28 by earning a ninth season victory at the conference championship, their 11th start this season. That victory total ties the total number of team titles Detroit has won since the program’s inception in 2005. Head coach Terri Anthony-Ryan has been the only coach.
The 1994-95 Arizona State team that won 10 times in a season, ending with the NCAA Championship, is thought to hold the women’s record for most victories in a season.
Detroit’s success this season is mind-numbing. But as you trace your way through the Titans’ results, the MAC Preview, this team’s third start of the season, seems wildly out of place. It’s not only the one tournament out of 11 that resulted in something less than a runner-up finish, but the Titans finished last among 15 teams at Longaberger Golf Club in Nashport, Ohio.
Anthony-Ryan refers to the MAC Preview as a “debacle.” Detroit didn’t have its usual fivesome in place that week, but junior Christina Thorne still doesn’t quite know how to explain it.
“I really think it kind of gave us a reality check,” she said.
Detroit rebounded the next week, setting a 36-hole school record en route to victory at the Dayton Fall Invitational. The Titans won three more tournaments until a lone runner-up in March.
“Everyone will say we play an easier schedule, but you still have to put the ball in the cup,” Anthony-Ryan said. Detroit is ranked No. 170 by Golfweek.
Part of the reason for this team’s success is its tight bond. Anthony-Ryan knows she might never again coach such a squad. Lammers, one of the leaders for this team, echoes that.
“This team is the closest team I’ve ever been on,” she said.
Lammers’ story had been interesting this year. The junior has an incredible ability to come back from injury. Last year was dotted with wrist ailments, leading to surgery on both wrists. This year, she made nine of 11 starts with the team, sitting out of the MAC Preview because of back spasms, and missing the Youngstown State Invitational because of a sprained ankle.
Lammers won two individual titles, and didn’t finish worse than T-5 this season. Teammate Olivia Richards won twice and Thorne won once. As the team titles also stacked up, Lammers said the Titans felt reassured, not like there was extra pressure to keep winning. By the time the conference championship rolled around, however, Detroit was itching for a victory. It finished second to Butler in 2012.
The NCAA Central Regional marks the second regional appearance in Detroit women’s golf history and the first since 2010. The Titans are the No. 23 seed of the 24 teams that will tee it up at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club in Norman, Okla. If they advance to the national championship, they will make history. Nebraska, a No. 19 seed at the 2003 NCAA Central Regional, holds the record as the lowest-seeded team to advance to the national championship.
Thorne noted that the depth of this field is a first for Detroit. Confidence, however, is on the Titans’ side.
“I think I’m just starting to appreciate how exciting it is and how hard we’ve worked,” she said.
Hard work already has carried Detroit a long way.