April 26, 2010
By Zach Stipe, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The No. 13-ranked Tennessee women's golf team will head to Greenville, N.C., for the NCAA East Regional from May 6-8, the NCAA announced on Monday afternoon.
A field of 72 teams and nine individuals were selected for the NCAA field, which will consist of three 54-hole regional tournaments and a 72-hole NCAA Championship competition from May 18-21.
This is the 18th consecutive NCAA Tournament selection for the Lady Vols, who have competed at an NCAA Regional every year since the program started in 1992-93.
"We expected the East region so we are satisfied with our selection," Lady Vol head coach Judi Pavon said. "The committee did a good job splitting the fields fairly so I don't think one site would have been an advantage over another. We will continue to work hard and get prepared to play well and advance to the NCAA Championship."
A top-eight finish at the East Regional, hosted by East Carolina at the par-72, 6,446-yard Ironwood Country Club course, would propel the Lady Vols to their second straight NCAA Championship and their sixth appearance in seven years.
Tennessee captured the sixth-seed in the region based off a regular season that saw it win a pair of tournaments in October and collect seven top-six tournament finishes in 10 competitions.
Seven other top-25 teams will join UT in the 24-team field, including No. 3 Duke, No. 4 Auburn, No. 9 Wake Forest, No. 11 Pepperdine, No. 16 Vanderbilt, No. 21 TCU and No. 22 Florida.
Wake Forest won its second consecutive ACC Championship earlier this month, while the Blue Devils are winners of five national championships since 1999. Auburn is the highest-ranked SEC squad in the country, while Vanderbilt has the 2010 SEC Individual Champion, Marina Alex.
Led by a lineup of freshman Erica Popson, sophomore Nathalie Mansson, senior Diana Cantú, freshman Sara Monberg and junior Lauren Spurlock, Tennessee will look to rebound from its ninth-place showing at the SEC Championship from April 16-18.
Despite the Lady Vols' disappointing conference finish, Popson was spectacular, breaking the UT record for total score (208) and tying with Alex through 54 holes for the individual lead before earning runner-up honors in a two-hole playoff.
Mansson has also been a standout for the Lady Vols this season. She helped UT sweep team and individual titles at the Mercedes-Benz Championship and Alamo Invitational, nabbing medalist honors at both tournaments. Her scoring average of 72.85 has her on pace to handedly set the Tennessee season stroke average record and ranks as the fifth-lowest in the SEC.
A year ago, Mansson led the seventh-seeded Lady Vols to a third-place finish at the East Regional in Gainesville, Fla., by tying for third at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.
Tennessee has a history of success at regional competitions, winning the 2006 East Regional team title and tying for the tournament crown at the 2005 West Regional.
In addition to the top eight teams at each region advancing to the national tournament, the top two individuals not a on a qualifying team will also compete at the four-day NCAA Championship held at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C.
|NCAA EAST REGIONAL TEAMS|
|17.||East Tennessee State|
|21.||College of Charleston|
|Sofia Hagsund||North Carolina-Wilmington|
|Shana Young||South Florida|
|Nicole Sakamoto||James Madison|