By Jose Saldana
Fifth-seeded Stanford women’s golf was eliminated in the NCAA Championships’ semifinals to eventual national champions, eighth-seeded Arizona on Tuesday in Karsten Creek Golf Club.
The 4-1 loss put an end to a strong stretch for the Cardinal. They defeated Northwestern 3-2 in the quarterfinals and won the NCAA Women’s Golf San Francisco Regional to advance to the Championships.
“I’m very proud of this team and what we were able to accomplish this season,” Stanford head coach Anne Walker said. “This morning against Northwestern, our putts were falling, and we navigated the course well. Making putts is the key to match play, and we were not able to do that as well against Arizona.”
However, the Cardinal ran into the Wildcats at the wrong time as Arizona went on a miraculous run from low seed to national champions after defeating second-seeded Alabama.
Sophomore Ziyi Wang and Albane Valenzuela dropped their games to put the Cardinal down 2-0 quickly.
Freshman Mika Liu battled in her outing before ultimately succumbing to her Wildcat opponent.
The only win came from senior Shannon Aubert in the final competition of her career. Aubert is the only Cardinal to participate in four-straight match-play competitions.
In the previous round, the Cardinal had more success against Northwestern as the Cardinal only dropped the rounds from Liu and Wang.
Stanford made the match-play round by finishing fifth in the NCAA Championships on Monday. Despite ending the first day in 16th, the Cardinal shot better each round to get a top-five spot with the top-15 advancing to match play.
Sophomore Andrea Lee had a historic performance, finishing in second, which is the best finish for a Cardinal golfer in over two decades, She tied a course record with a 7-under-65 as she had zero birdies.
A couple of Cardinal were rewarded with All-American honors on Thursday. Lee earned a spot to the All-American first team after an incredible performance in the final round of the NCAA Championships to send the Cardinal to the match-play rounds.
Valenzuela saw herself as an honorable mention as the Swiss golfer had three Top-10 finishes during the season.
Women’s golf was also one of the 10 Cardinal women’s programs, which were recognized for having a perfect 1000 multi-year score according to the Academic Progress Rate.
Despite losing Aubert for next year’s squad, the team is full of talented sophomores and freshman, and they should be expected to compete for a title again next season.
Contact Jose Saldana at jsaldana ‘at’ stanford.edu.