West: Iowa State looking to make history
Lance Ringler and Asher Wildman break down all of the action from Round 2 of the NCAA Women's Regionals.
Leader: Arizona (17-over 585)
Individual leader: Madeleine Ziegert, San Jose State (1-under 141)
The top 8: 2. UCLA (588) 3. Alabama (595); 4. Virginia (596); T-5. California, LSU, Texas (597); 8. Iowa State (599)
Close behind: T-9. Stanford, Texas A&M, UNLV (601); 12. San Jose State (602); 13. Ohio State (603)
Could this be the year?: Iowa State has never been to the NCAA Championship. In fact, the Cyclones are teeing it up at a regional this week for the first time since 1996.
After a second-round 13-over 297 at the Stanford (Calif.) Golf Course, 18th-seeded Iowa State sits alone in eighth place, 14 shots behind leader Arizona, and within reach of a trip to nationals.
The top eight teams qualify for the NCAA Championship, which begins May 18 in Wilmington, N.C.
“I think they played really well today,” said Iowa State coach Christi Martens, who before leaving for regional play agreed to a contract extension with the Cyclones through 2015. “They have improved a ton this season, and I think they have shown that and started to peak at the time.”
Iowa State was flirting with the bubble late in the spring, but a fourth-place showing at the Big 12 Conference Championship – its best finish in the Big 12s – sealed a trip to the regionals for the first time in 14 years.
Now the Cyclones are flirting with a trip to the national championship.
“At Big 12s, we tried to break 300 every day, and out here this week, we are trying to break 296 every day. If we did that, we knew we would be in good shape,” Martens said.
Iowa State has yet to break 296, carding a 302 in the first round. Breaking that 296 mark in the final round might be good enough to make history. Martens acknowledges that a trip to the national championship would be a history-making event, but simply playing well Saturday is the focus.
“It would be awesome and be a dream for us to go, but we want to go out and play well tomorrow and then we can say we did everything we could,” Martens said.
Virginia’s tribute: Virginia is playing the Stanford Golf Course for the first time in program history and doing quite well. The Cavaliers, the No. 5 seed, ended the opening round with a share of the lead and are fourth after 36 holes and in good position to advance.
There has been a lot on the minds of the Cavalier golfers this week, considering the unfortunate event that took place on campus involving fellow student-athletes just a day before they left for California.
Women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love was slain early Monday morning. George Huguely, a member of Virginia’s men’s lacrosse team, was charged with first-degree murder.
The five Virginia golfers decided to pay respect to Love by marking their golf balls with messages of remembrance (pictured right). Love wore No. 1 on the lacrosse field.
“This is a tough time for our university,” Virginia coach Kim Lewellen said. “The girls on our team could not be there this week to pay their respects and participate with their classmates in some of the activities that have taken place. They all saw that photo in the newspaper of the student vigil that took place the other night. They wanted to show their support for Yeardley Love and her family, so this is one of the things they decided to do.”
Hold on to your hats: Nine teams are within six shots of one another, which could make the final round in this regional one of the most exciting we have ever seen.
In the middle of that bunched-up group that sits between a tie for fifth and 13th place is host Stanford. The No. 6 seed Cardinal posted rounds of 297 and 304 and are tied with Texas A&M and UNLV for ninth place.
The last time the West Regional was played at the Stanford Golf Course, there was a playoff at 49 over to advance.