Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Spartans teams compete in Big Ten tournament play

May 11, 2008

Junior outfielder and second baseman Gina Mondo slides into home plate April 23 at Old College Field during the game against Oakland. The Spartans lost to Iowa during the Big Ten Championship last Friday.

Photo by Karen Cassidy | The State News

While most students were enjoying their break from classes and the stresses of college, these Spartans were busy at work competing for Big Ten titles. Here’s a rundown of what you missed while you were vacationing.

Rowing:

The No. 5 MSU women’s rowing team tied a conference points record on May 3, in route to a Big Ten championship — the second in school history.

The Spartan ladies won three individual event titles and finished second in two other races on their way to scoring 150 points, beating second place Wisconsin by 36.

“Every boat raced its best during the tournament,” head coach Matt Weise said. “We struggled in 2007, but this year we brought all of the focus back to how the team is going to perform, opposed to worrying about the competition.”

The Spartan rowers were idle from competition this weekend, giving them extra practice time to prepare before heading to Oak Ridge, Tenn. for the NCAA South/Central Sprints on May 17-18.

“We feel that we can all go faster on race day,” Weise said. “We will continue making what we do better.”

Men’s Golf:

Senior Ryan Brehm sunk a birdie and a par on the last two holes to lead the MSU men’s golf team to its second straight Big Ten title on April 27 at Forest Akers West Golf Course.

“Everybody really contributed to the victory,” head coach Sam Puryear said. “The guys played well and were playing patient down the stretch while the conditions were hard.”

As a team, the Spartans shot 21-over-par during the four-round tournament.

Brehm shot a 8-under-par to finish second in the tournament, while sophomore Jack Newman tied for fifth by shooting 5-over-par.

The Spartans entered the final round with an 11-stroke lead but felt pressure from Minnesota, who cut their lead down to only two shots late in the match.

“Everyone felt the pressure coming down the stretch but were able to hold out and get the win,” Newman said.

The victory qualified the Spartans for the NCAA East Regional Championship in Chattanooga, Tenn. on May 15-17.

The 81 qualifying teams will be split into three regions. The top 10 finishers of each region will get the opportunity to compete for the national championship.

MSU will play at the Council Fire Golf Course, where Puryear believes the course’s short distance will be advantageous for his squad.

“We’ve spent time working on our iron shots and wedges, and we have had a great week of practice,” he said. “My expectations are for us to play well.”

Softball:

After completing a huge upset victory over second-seeded Michigan in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday, the No. 7 MSU softball team carried positive momentum into Friday’s semifinals.

However, the magic ended there, as the Spartans were eliminated from the tournament after losing 13-4 to No. 3 Iowa.

The Spartans (27-29) allowed seven runs in the second inning and were unable to recover from the deficit.

Junior Kara Weigle went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and freshman Jessica Bracamonte also added two hits in the losing effort.

In Thursday’s 2-1 victory against Michigan — which had been ranked sixth in the country — the Spartans rode the right-handed arm of senior Lesley Noel.

Noel pitched a complete game for the Spartans, allowing one run on four hits.

Women’s Golf:

The MSU women’s golf team shot an impressive 6-over-par on the last day of the NCAA West Regional Championship, but fell one stroke off from qualifying for the NCAA Championship.

The Spartans shot the fourth-best round on the final day, beating 17 other schools at the Lincoln Hills Golf Club in Lincoln, Calif., but it wasn’t enough.

Sophomore Laura Kueny was the top Spartan performer at the tournament. She shot 4-over-par, tying for 17th place.

Despite a disappointing end to the season for the team, senior Sara Brown and Kueny brought home some positive accolades. Each were selected to the All-Big Ten first team. Brown was named to the first team for her third straight season.

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