It's as a sure thing as the sun rising and setting every day – Ashland University's women's golf team playing in the regional tournament.
The Eagles will compete at the NCAA Division II East Regional tournament, Monday-Wednesday (May 7-9) at Katke Golf Course in Big Rapids, Mich. This is the ninth consecutive postseason appearance for Ashland's women, and they are one of just four teams to be in the East regional every year this decade, along with Grand Valley State, Indianapolis and Missouri-St. Louis.
"In the fall, we were very successful," said Ashland head coach Andrew Bolinger. "Spring has been a little difficult. Last round at conference, that was our first round with the starting five that we've had since Ferris that all our scores were under 85. That was huge for us. The girls were excited how they played, as well."
Ashland played on the Big Rapids course in the fall, finishing third (320-306—626) at the Bulldog Fall Preview. The second-round 306 was the Eagles' third-lowest of 2017-18.
Junior Monica Torda was the low scorer for the Eagles in that tourney, finishing in a tie for eighth at 78-74—152. Torda's second-round 74 was her season low. Freshman Hannah Lemons wasn't far behind, tying for 11th at 76-78—154.
"Monica played very well at Ferris. At these girls have had good rounds at the Katke course," Bolinger said. "They should be a little confident. They know they've played well there."
Sophomore Krystal Hu is the Ashland pacesetter this season with an average round of 75.75, followed by Lemons (78.60), Torda (80.85), freshman Sophie Hemleben (82.20) and sophomore Logan Pottorf (91.00).
Seeding for the East Super Regional is as follows: 1) Indianapolis; 2) Grand Valley State; 3) Missouri-St. Louis; 4) Findlay; 5) Northern Michigan; 6) Illinois-Springfield; 7) ASHLAND; 8) Kutztown; 9) Tiffin; 10) Wayne State; 11) Southern Indiana; and 12) Franklin Pierce.
The low three teams, and the low three individuals not on those teams, in each region will advance to the 2018 NCAA Division II Championships, May 16-19 at Bay Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas.
"There's some hot teams right now," Bolinger said. "I think if we can shoot around 300 for three days, so a 900, that could very well be close to us getting in. We have the ability to shoot 300, we just have to do it three days in a row.
"We need even-par rounds at regionals. We need two even-par rounds, and a couple rounds in the mid and upper 70s."
Ashland qualified as a team for the national tournament in 2011, 2013 and 2015, with its best finish being ninth in both 2011 and 2015.