Dores edged in SEC match play

April 21, 2018

SEC Championship Match Play Results | Photos courtesy: SEC/Jimmy Mitchell

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Vanderbilt women’s golf team took favored Alabama to the wire Saturday before falling to the nation’s No. 2-ranked squad 3-2 in the quarterfinals of match play at the Southeastern Conference Golf Championship.

The Commodores raised plenty of eyebrows at the Greystone Golf and Country Club as they pushed the Crimson Tide to the last of five individual matches before Alabama freshman Angelica Moresco sank a six-foot birdie putt on No. 17 to seal the victory.

Greg Allen’s No. 24-ranked squad used clutch performances by freshmen Morgan Baxendale and Louise Yu to keep the match in doubt. The two freshmen provided points for the Commodores by defeating higher-ranked Alabama opponents.

Though disappointed with the outcome, Allen praised the Commodores for their clutch play and determination through the round.

“I’m so proud of how every girl on our team battled,” Allen said. “We got a lot better today and going through this experience will help us at [NCAA] regionals.”

Alabama’s dynamic duo of Lauren Stephenson and Kristen Gillman, both ranked among the top eight players in the nation, gave the Crimson Tide an early 2-0 advantage by defeating Vanderbilt’s Courtney Zeng and Virginia Green, respectively. Stephenson and Gillman combined for 11 birdies against Zeng and Green.

Needing a strong response, Yu and Baxendale stepped up huge for the Commodores.

The match between Yu and Alabama’s Cheyenne Knight was tight from the first hole. With the match even through 15 holes, Yu took a one-hole advantage with a birdie at the par-4 No. 16. After keeping the advantage with a clutch 4-foot par putt at the par-3 17th hole, Yu sealed her 1-up victory with another birdie on the par-5 18th hole.

The Baxendale-Lakareber Abe pairing also resulted in a tight match. Baxendale capped her 2&1 victory on the 17th green by sinking a 14-foot birdie putt after Abe had made a 25-footer to serve her par.

With the two Vanderbilt individual wins leveling the competition at 2-2, the final outcome came down to the match between sophomore Abbey Carlson and Alabama’s Angelica Moresco. After falling behind early, Carlson closed to a 1-hole deficit with a birdie at the par-5 11th, but was never able to square the match. Moresco claimed the 3&1 victory by making a deciding birdie putt at 17.

“What a match. It played out exactly the way we needed it to, with us earning two points and making it come down to the final match late in the round,” Allen said. “I told the girls that we didn’t lose today, Alabama just beat us. And they really had to play some great golf to do it.”

Vanderbilt is expected to make its 18th NCAA Regional appearance in the last 19 years. The Commodores will learn Wednesday where they will compete. The regionals, scheduled May 7-9, will be staged in Austin, Texas, Madison, Wisc., Stanford, Calif., and Tallahassee, Fla. The NCAA Championship is scheduled May 18-23 at Karsten Creek Golf Course in Stillwater, Okla.

SEC Women’s Golf Championship
Match Play Quarterfinals

Team Result
No. 2 Alabama 3, No. 7 Vanderbilt 2

Match Results
Kristen Gillman (ALA) over Virginia Green (VU), 6&4
Louise Yu (VU) over Cheyenne Knight (ALA), 1-up
Lauren Stephenson (ALA) over Courtney Zeng (VU), 5&3
Morgan Baxendale (VU) over Lakareber Abe (ALA), 2&1
Angelica Moresco (ALA) over Abbey Carlson (VU), 3&2
 

 

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