The University of Illinois Springfield women’s golf team earned its fourth straight bid to the NCAA Division II East Regional on Monday afternoon. The Prairie Stars are one of 12 teams that will compete for a chance to advance to the NCAA Division II National Championships.
The East Regional will be played on May 6-8 at The Pearl Club in Owensboro, Ky. Each team will play 18 holes a day, and the top four teams, as well as the top four individuals not on those teams, will move on to nationals. The NCAA Division II National Championships will be May 14-18 at PGA National Resort and Spa in West Palm Beach, Fla.
UIS will be the No. 8 seed in the regional tournament. Two other GLVC teams are in the field in No. 1 Indianapolis and No. 4 Missouri- St. Louis. Other conference champions that received an automatic berth are Grand Valley State, Findlay, Merrimack, West Chester, and Charleston. The other at-large teams are Northern Michigan, Tiffin, Wayne State, and Northwood.
UIS is coming off a third-place showing at the GLVC Championships where the Prairie Stars finished just six shots behind Missouri-St. Louis for second. UIS won three tournaments this season and had seven top-four showings. One of the tournaments the team won was at The Pearl Club when UIS shot a 613 to finish five shots ahead of McKendree. Paula Valdivia, Maria Espinosa, and Jennifer Queller all had top-10 individual finishes.
UIS has had a balanced attack team this season with Queller leading the squad with a 78.3 average. Ocean Pangan and Espinosa are also scoring below an 80, and Valdivia is averaging an 81.7. Sasha Glickfield is the fifth golfer on the team, and she is averaging 89.0. Espinosa has won two individual titles this year, and Pangan has won one. Queller had a team-high two rounds of par or better.
UIS finished sixth at last year’s regional tournament, and also has a fifth-place and 11th-place showings in their other two appearances.