Gilbert, Ariz.--Alyssa Akiyama (Fy./Cincinnati/Seven Hills) and Ziyi Wang (So./Beijing City, China/Lighthouse Christian Academy) posted big victories, leading 10th-ranked Carleton College to a 4.5-0.5 victory over Luther College.
The two teams competed at Trilogy Golf Club at Power Ranch, battling windy conditions of 10-15 mph after a cold front dropped temperatures 25 degrees overnight. The weather didn't impact Akiyama, who reeled off 11 pars in the 12 holes she completed, controlling the match from the beginning. She won three of the first four holes, took a five-up lead at the turn, and grabbed wins at the 10th and 11th hole. She closed out the match with a par on the par-4 12th hole, winning 7 and 6.
Wang, meanwhile, trailed Luther's Keeley Todd early before winning three straight holes and four of the last five, capped by a birdie on the par-4 ninth hole. She added wins on holes 10 and 13 to end the match, 6 and 5.
Ayumi Sakamoto (So./Honolulu/'Iolani School) won three of the first four holes, including a birdie on the lengthy par-5 third hole, and pushed the lead to as many as five, turning in two-over par. Luther's Sam Kraft battled back, cutting the deficit to two holes with six holes left, but Sakamoto parred the difficult 14th hole and halved the next two, winning 3 and 2.
The other two matches featured high drama. Haley Grable (Fy./Watkinsville, Ga./North Oconee) found herself three down after four holes, but back-to-back pars cut that deficit in half, and she won six holes on the final nine holes to rally for a two-up victory, playing them in five-over par. In the final match left on the course of the day, Carleton's Kelsey Sullivan (Fy./Simsbury, Conn.) and Luther's Ellie Menssen battled back-and-forth all day. Menssen took an early two-up lead, but Sullivan rallied to square the match after nine holes. Menssen took a one-up lead two more times, but Sullivan squared the match on the 16th hole. The final two holes were halved, and thus the match.
"I thought it was really good for us to get out there and try to execute under pressure," Carleton head coach Eric Sieger said. "It's been a while since we've done that. Overall, I was pleased with our performance today. We certainly have areas that need attention in our games, but it was a good start to the spring season."