Postseason a long time coming
Women’s golf regionals begin today, OSU is in the field for the first time since ‘06
Published: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 20:07
For the first time in six years, the Oregon State women’s golf team will be heading to NCAA Regionals.
The Beavers found out a week and a half ago that they will be the No. 18 seed in the 24-team West Regional.
Regionals kick off today and run through Saturday. It is a 54-hole event, and the top eight teams will move on to the NCAA Championships, which OSU has been to just once in its history.
It’s been a long time coming for head coach Rise Alexander and senior Whitney French, who have been eager to reach the postseason for the last couple years.
“I’m super excited, especially because it’s my senior year and we haven’t gone,” French said. “It’s been six years since we’ve gone. We’re all really excited to go. We’re just hoping that we play our game and we’ll see how it goes from there.”
Alexander was there for the Beavers’ lone nationals appearance, which came in 1998. Things hadn’t been as promising, though, during the recent six-year postseason drought, but now Alexander is excited for the regionals berth.
“We’re just excited to have the opportunity,” Alexander said. “We feel like we’ve prepared well. We’ve worked hard all year. We’re ready to go.”
Advancing past regionals will not come easily, though. As the No. 18 seed, the competition in front of Oregon State is going to be stiff. UCLA leads the field as the top seed, and conference rivals Cal and Stanford also join Oregon State in the West Regional.
However, Alexander says this probably won’t even be the Beavers’ toughest tournament of the year.
“We’ve played such a strong schedule all year, so we’ve been in tournaments where we’ve seen these teams,” Alexander said. “We know what we’re up against. We’ve played in even probably stronger events than this event.”
A large part in the team’s improvement from last year has been the addition of freshman Anica Yoo. Yoo is leading the team in season stroke average at 76.03.
“Our team is more competitive this year which gives us an advantage,” French said. “Especially with Anica coming in, she’s been such a great help to our team and is consistently always in our scoring and contributing every tournament.”
Yoo herself didn’t realize the magnitude of importance the rest of the team held for regionals until they found out they were going.
“I didn’t know how big postseason meant to the team,” Yoo said. “So after knowing that we were going and how excited everyone else was, that just made me more excited.”
Oregon State goes into its first postseason tournament as underdogs, but the team feels there’s nothing wrong with being in that position.
“I just think it’s kind of a positive to go in it in this situation because we’re excited to get to this point, and it’s just a win-win from here,” said assistant coach Kailin Downs. “We’re in regionals and it’s anybody’s game for the eight spots.”
“We know what we’re up against, so it’s going to take three days of great play to get this done,” Alexander said.
Warner Strausbaugh, sports writer