Now healthy, ASU ready to rock regionals
For those that thought Arizona State might be down and out after the Pac-10 Championship, don’t count on it. Coach Melissa Luellen said Monday that Jennifer Johnson and Giulia Molinaro, who were sick and only completed one round at the conference championship, are back at practice, no longer ill and are eating normally.
Arizona State was disqualified from the Pac-10s prior to the second round because it was unable to field a squad of four players.
“These last two tournaments for us have been really tough to handle the losing aspect,” Luellen said. “We lost our home tournament (Ping ASU Invitational on April 11) by one shot, and then not being able to defend our Pac-10 title hurts. There are different things that can happen at any time, and my team learned this past week that anything can happen.”
Luellen said she has been monitoring Johnson and Molinaro’s energy level and has been glad that the summer heat in the desert has yet to arrive.
“It has taken them several days to get back to 100 percent, but they are there now,” Luellen said. “We are always making sure they are hydrated.”
Arizona State received the No. 1 seed in the Central Regional when the NCAA announced its Women’s Regional bids Monday.
Here’s what happened last week:
Molinaro became ill with nausea, fever and headaches the night before Round 2 of the Pac-10 Championship. The next morning, Johnson, who was rooming with Molinaro, woke up with a headache and quickly became ill.
“Jennifer went from about an eight (out of 10) to a two in a matter of minutes,” Luellen said. “When we went to drop her off, Giulia answered the door with her head in a garbage can.”
Luellen said Molinaro did everything she could to attempt to suit up for Round 2 and be the team’s fourth player. She arrived at the course, but quickly left for the University of Oregon’s athletic facility where she received two IVs for dehydration.
ASU sophomore Carlota Ciganda went on to win medalist honors, defeating teammate Juliana Murcia in a playoff, and junior Jaclyn Sweeney tied for third.
With postseason play just 10 days away, Luellen is confident her team will be healthy, and Johnson and Molinaro will be back in the lineup for regionals.
“Jennifer Johnson is a great competitor, consistent player, and her best golf still hasn’t shown up yet,” Luellen said. “Giulia is a player that can go low. She’s one hell of a No. 5.”
Johnson and Molinaro will have big shoes to fill. Senior leaders Azahara Munoz and Jennifer Osborn led the Sun Devils to the NCAA Women’s Championship title last season. This year, Luellen will need a freshman and sophomore to step up their games.
The good news: They are now healthy and ready to tee it up.