Ashland University's women's golf program hasn't qualified for the NCAA Division II Championships in back-to-back seasons.
The Eagles have that opportunity this season, as they will be the No. 6 seed at the 2016 Division II East Super Regional, Monday (May 2) through Wednesday (May 4) at Panther Creek Country Club in Springfield, Ill. AU tied its best national finish in 2015 by placing ninth.
"Any time that you can send a team to super regionals, and give yourself a chance to make nationals, that's the ultimate goal every single year," said Ashland head coach Kory Oslie. "I'm extremely pleased that our team was able to overcome some adversity and get ourselves into that tournament."
Each of four super regionals consist of 12 teams and six individuals from non-qualifying teams. Among the top teams in the East are Indianapolis, ranked No. 11 in the country, Grand Valley State (No. 13), Findlay (No. 32), Missouri-St. Louis (No. 40), Southern Indiana (No. 42) and California, Pa. (No. 50). Ashland is ranked No. 58.
The top three teams and top three individuals not with a team will advance to the 2016 NCAA Division II Women's Golf Championships, May 18-21 at CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora, Colo.
Ashland is coming off a third-place finish at the 2016 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship. Senior Ali Green became the second Eagle to earn GLIAC medalist honors following a 5-under round of 67 on Sunday (April 24), which not only is a program record, but also is a GLIAC Championship record and tied for the fifth-best round in Division II in 2015-16.
"Personally, I'm on cloud nine. I'm ready to go," Green said. "That is exactly what I needed going into regionals, was just a boost of confidence. Overall, I think we're all ready to go and really excited.
"It was a very interesting experience. The day before, I couldn't get a putt to drop. (On Sunday), I felt like I could not miss a shot or a putt. It was just an overwhelming experience."
"It was something special. It was phenomenal to watch," Oslie said. "I'm really happy for her, and glad to see that she's finally getting her game back to where it normally is and where it needs to be going into the postseason."
Green's average round of 4.38 over par in 2015-16 would be the best since the program started in 2000-01.
Green and junior Kaitlin Neumann come into the super regional with almost identical season scoring averages – Green 76.38, Neumann 76.47.
"Leaning on those two, they are the foundation of this program," Oslie said, "and knowing that I can rely on them to play their best golf, and if they are playing their best golf, it puts us in a position to where we can make some noise."
"Everybody's got to raise their game up," said Oslie. "Everybody has to be playing some of their best golf at this stage. We can't afford to have too many mistakes."
Green said, "My expectations are to make it to nationals. I want my team by my side, and I want that third experience at nationals."
The Eagles' average team score of 310 over the weekend is their best of the 2015-16 campaign in 10 tournaments.
Ashland has reached the NCAA Championships three times – 2011 (tied for ninth), 2013 (12th) and 2015.