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Irish on the brink of success

Eric Retter | Monday, April 19, 2004

In their quest to secure the program’s first NCAA tournament berth, the Irish remain definitively on the bubble.

In what was supposed to be a make or break tournament this weekend at the Lady Boilermaker Invitational, the Irish neither gained nor lost ground. The two major components that influence teams’ chances for securing NCAA bids are tournament placement (head-to head competition) and average score per round. The Irish definitely beat some good teams on their way to finishing seventh out of a very strong field of 12, but unusually high scores will hurt their scoring average,

“It’s really tough to say how we did [with regards to procuring an NCAA bid],” Irish coach Debby King said. “We beat some good teams, but because of high winds, scores were high. I think the two probably canceled each other out.”

The Irish were in ninth place Saturday after shooting first-day rounds of 314 and 321. However, a strong Sunday performance in which the Irish were one of only three teams to shoot below a 320, with an overall 319, helped propel the Irish two spots ahead to finish in seventh place with a 90-over-par 954.

“I was definitely pleased with our Sunday performance, especially after a disappointing second round,” King said.

In what is becoming routine, freshman Noriko Nakazaki led the Irish in scoring, shooting rounds of 75, 81 and 79 to finish tied for 18th with a 235. Junior Karen Lotta finished 27th with a score of 238 after shooting a 76 and two consecutive 81s.

Senior co-captain Rebecca Rogers came in third for the Irish and tied for 31st place overall, shooting rounds of 83, 80, and 80 to close out the weekend with a 243, a season-low score. Rogers, who struggled throughout the fall season, has played in both of the Irish’s last two tournaments and has earned the praise of her coach.

“It’s nice to see her peak at the right time, and I’m just so happy for her,” King said.

Katie Brophy made up for a rough Saturday, where she shot rounds of 87 and 83, by shooting a third round 79, tying Nakazaki for the low round Sunday and finishing with an overall 249. Sophomore Sarah Bassett and senior co-captain Shannon Byrne rounded out the Irish lineup this weekend. Bassett shot rounds of 85, 79 and 87 to finish with a 251, and Byrne shot a 252 with rounds of 80, 85 and 87.

which will be held at Warren Golf course.

“We definitely will have to shoot around 300 all three days to have a legitimate shot [at the NCAAs], but it’s a big advantage having it on our home course,” King said.