NCAA Appearances Never Get Old For Huskies
May 4, 2010
GREENVILLE, N.C. -- For Mary Lou Mulflur, having her Huskies play in the NCAA Tournament is old hat. The UW is making its 17th NCAA Regional appearance in 27 years under the guidance of Mulflur.
Each appearance brings new adventures for Mulflur and each one is special. Every year as the first round of the NCAA's approach, she is like a kid on Christmas morning running down to see what presents are waiting for her under the tree.
'Everything you do and work for is pointing towards April and May -- conference, regionals and nationals,' said Mulflur. 'Thursday is not going to come fast enough for me.'
What awaits Mulflur and the Huskies is a loaded field in a strange environment with a bunch of not-so-familiar faces. Washington is heading across country as the No. 13 seed in the East Region being held at Ironwood Country Club in Greenville, N.C. from May 6-8.
The region is made up mostly of teams from conferences like the ACC and SEC and other colleges east of the Mississippi River. Duke is the No. 1 seed, followed by Auburn and Wake Forest. Pepperdine, the No. 4 seed, is the only other team in the region that calls the west coast home. Despite the unfamiliar surroundings and opponents, Mulflur and her group is not only looking forward to the challenge, but focused on leaving a mark.
'We're feeling really good right now,' said Mulflur. 'My team was really excited when we found out we were going to East Carolina University and playing in the East Regional. Practices have been really good and we seem to have our school work under control so we can go there with clear heads. We're excited.'
Mulflur is bringing an experienced group with her to North Carolina. Molly Aronsson is the lone senior for the Dawgs. She has been the team's most consistent performer this season and has been especially strong down the stretch. Aronsson is surrounded by junior Anya Alvarez, who recently was named an honorable mention All-Pac-10 performer, and sophomore Sadena Parks, who had her best tournament of the season at the Pac-10 Championships.
Junior Karinn Dickinson is looking for a breakthrough this week. She is getting closer to 100-percent recovered from a leg injury that hampered her throughout the last two tournaments. Before getting hit by a cart in Texas, Dickinson was playing some of the best golf of her Husky career.
The lone newcomer to NCAA Tournament action is sophomore Darcie Richmond. Despite her inexperience, she continues to make strides in practice and will be an integral part of the Huskies success this week. She is the only one who didn't get to feel what the other four golfers felt as they walked off the final hole five shots short of advancing to the NCAA Championships.
'Last year we were really close and we missed it by five shots, which over threed rounds is nothing. I think they got a good sense last year of the disappointment. I told them to remember the feeling they had when they walked off the last green and didn't make it,' said Mulflur. 'That is not a feeling they're going to want to feel again.'
The East Region is one of three sites that will help determine which 24 teams will advance to the NCAA Championships to be held May 18-21 at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C. and hosted by the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Eight teams and two individuals will advance to the championships from each region.
Below are the teams participating and rankings in the East Region with conference automatic qualifiers indicated in parenthesis next to the institution.
3. Wake Forest (Atlantic Coast Conference)
9. North Carolina
10. South Carolina
11. Tulane (Conference USA)
12. Chattanooga (Southern Conference)
14. Texas Tech
15. Georgia State (Colonial Athletic Association)
17. East Tennessee State
19. Coastal Carolina
20. East Carolina
21. College of Charleston
22. Stetson (Atlantic Sun Conference)
23. Charleston Southern (Big South Conference)
24. Farleigh Dickinson (Northeast Conference)
Other Notes and Tidbits:
Anya Alvarez earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 Honors. It is the first time in her career she has garnered all-league consideration.
The Huskies left Seattle on a red-eye flight to North Carolina on Monday night. They arrived on the East Coast at about 9:00 a.m. and had a relaxing day that included a practice round and some laser tag.
Washington is making its 17th NCAA appearance in the last 19 years. The team's top finish in a regional was third in 2006 when Paige Mackenzie earned indivdidual medalist honors at Washington National Golf Course in Auburn, Wash. Besides Mackenzie, Dodie Mazzuca (1997) is the only other UW golfer to win a regional.
The last year that Washington advanced past the regionals to the NCAA Championships was in 2006. Overall, the Huskies have played in 10 Championships with sixth-place finishes in 2006 and 2004 being the best overall team results. Mackenzie finished eighth in 2006, the only top-10 finish ever by a Husky in the championship round.