Women’s golf falls short in NCAA semifinals

first_imgThe USC women’s golf team’s search of a fourth national championship was halted on Wednesday, as the No. 10 nationally ranked Trojans fell to Northwestern in the NCAA semifinals at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. Head coach Andrea Gaston and her squad finished third, tying with Stanford. Although this marked USC’s national-best 12th consecutive top-five finish, it also marked USC’s third straight semifinal exit.After Tuesday’s session was cut short by rain and darkness, USC entered Wednesday holding a 4-1 lead midway through its semifinal match-play contest against the Wildcats. Going into Wednesday, freshman Muni He had a two-hole advantage through 13 holes, and sophomore Robynn Ree, senior’s Gabriella Then and Tiffany Chan were all nursing one-hole leads on the back nine.Though He and Chan eventually converted their leads into wins, Northwestern came storming back, defeating Ree and redshirt senior, Victoria Morgan. After Then squandered a two-hole edge late on, the match came down to a decisive playoff between Then and the Wildcats’ Janet Mao.  Both players set themselves up with putts inside 10 feet on the first playoff hole, but Then left her effort an inch short of the cup after Mao sunk hers. Northwestern advanced to the finals.Despite the disappointment, Gaston was upbeat about her team’s showing in Sugar Grove.“I’m proud of this group,” the 21-year head coach said. “We went in with a lead today, but there’s a lot of talent on Northwestern’s team. They have some great players, and they got it done today.”Finally, the Trojans reached their 20th straight championship round, after difficult weather at their NCAA Regionals in Albuquerque, N.M. Though USC’s fourth-place finish ended its run of seven consecutive regional victories, the squad’s determination in cold, blustery conditions secured yet another shot at a national championship. Morgan birdied three of her last four holes to card a team-leading 74 on the final day of play.USC then advanced to the NCAA Championships, needing a top-eight finish to move on to the decisive match play tournament. Entering the final day, clinging to seventh place, the Trojans boosted themselves up to fifth, finishing 50-over 914 overall and securing a shot at their first national title since 2013.In the opening round of match play, the No. 5 seeded Trojans topped No.4 seeded Ohio State 3-1-1. He suffered a blowout, five-hole loss, and Then finished all square after a 19-hole duel with the Buckeyes’ Jaclyn Lee. Ree and Chan both grabbed one-hole victories, while Morgan secured a four-hole win with three still left to play, setting up a semifinal date with Northwestern.Gaston praised her team for a hard-fought season after the loss to the Wildcats.“It’s been a week with lot of adversity here with the weather,” she said. “But our team was as prepared to face this challenge as we could be.”USC now sets its sights on another strong campaign in the 2017-18 season. The Trojans will look to build on their success with many fresh faces, as the team graduates half of its roster at the end of this season.last_img read more

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