Big Ten Women’s Golf Championship Preview

Wednesday afternoon, the Michigan State Spartan women’s golf team headed out to French Lick, Ind. looking to bring a Big Ten Championship back to East Lansing.

The Spartans are coming off of a second place finish at last week’s Lady Buckeye Invitational. Freshman Kelly Grassel led the way with a 3-over 219 (78-71-70), finishing just one stroke shy of first place.

“I feel pretty good, I feel pretty confident going into the Big Ten’s. I lost by one, so I’m kind of fired up for this weekend because I wasn’t quite able to pull it off,” Grassel said. “I just hope that I can do even better this weekend, for myself and for my team.”

Michigan State is in familiar territory feeling strong going into the postseason, and they are looking to use some of their experience in the past to help them out. Senior Liz Nagel is one of those veteran players the Spartans are counting on, as she has won two Big Ten Championships out of her past three years with the Spartans.

“I think we all know that we’re more than capable and we have the talent to win,” Nagel said.  “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves… just kind of keep the eyes on the prize at the end, but you know stay in the moment at the same time.”

One more senior leader the Spartans will be looking towards for guidance is Allyssa Ferrell. For about a week, Ferrell has dealt with some “minor” pain in her ankle, but insists it will have no impact on her play this weekend.

“It’s not going to affect me at all,” Ferrell said.

Ferrell has been one of the most consistent golfers for the Spartans all year, and they will look for more of that in the Big Ten Championships.

“Once I find a practice routine that seems to work I keep doing that and then continue to build off of that, and try not to get into your own head I think is a huge thing,” Ferrell said.

Coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll, who is in her 17th season as head coach of the Spartans, is one of the pillars of this program that helps players not get too far ahead of themselves. With experience comes high expectations, and Slobodnik-Stoll has exactly that for her Spartans going into this seasons Big Ten Championships.

Having three talented seniors on the team has helped create the expectation of winning.

“We didn’t do that last year and that was very hurtful to all of us, and to them, and so I think that they understand what the taste of losing is like,” Slobodnik-Stoll said. “I don’t think any of the three of them want to go through that again and they want to walk out of here with another Big Ten ring on their hand.”

The Spartans will have that chance to show they deserve another ring on their hand when play kicks off on Friday, in French Lick, Ind.

Anthony Garcia is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.

Photo: Michigan State University Women’s Golf