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Women's Golf

Carleton Athletics

Schedule and Results

Result: MIAC CHAMPIONS! // Wang 1st, Akiyama 2nd, Euyang 3rd, Sakamoto 4th, Chan 5th

Women's Golf at MIAC Championships

Saturday, September 29th, 2018 – 10:30 a.m. (Sat.) / 9:00 a.m. (Sun.) / 9:00.m. (Mon.) at Becker, Minn. - Pebble Creek Golf Club

Knights repeat as MIAC Champions; Ziyi Wang defends her individual crown

(L to R) Molly Erickson, Alexis Chan, Abby Euyang, Ziyi Wang, Ayumi Sakamoto, and Alyssa Akiyama
(L to R) Molly Erickson, Alexis Chan, Abby Euyang, Ziyi Wang, Ayumi Sakamoto, and Alyssa Akiyama
Photo: David Pape

BECKER, Minn. – The Carleton College women’s golf team repeated as MIAC champions and did so in record-breaking fashion, smashing its own conference tournament 54-hole scoring record by 20 strokes. The Knights finished with a team score of 904, good for a 66-shot margin of victory. Ziyi Wang (Sr./Beijing City, China/Lighthouse Christian Academy) successfully defended her MIAC individual crown, marking the sixth consecutive season that the Knight took home medalist honors.

This is Carleton’s third conference title in the last five years, having previously claimed the top spot on the podium 2014 and 2017. With the victory, the Knights earn the MIAC’s automatic bid to the 2019 NCAA Championships.

“I absolutely could not have written a better fall season or first season of coaching this team if I tried,” said Carleton head coach Molly Erickson. “These ladies were without a coach until one week before arriving to campus for preseason, and I was so worried about the transition. Each and every one of them made me feel so warmly welcomed every day. They let themselves trust me on the course very quickly, and I can’t thank them enough for being the amazing humans and the incredible athletes that they are.

“This weekend, we not only dealt with three days of unseasonably cold and bitter temps, but a few sick players as well. Everyone played their hearts out—naturally breaking records in the process. I’m well aware I’ve said it a million times this season, but I am too proud of this team, both on and off the course.”

Moments before the Knights teed off for Monday’s final round, the Women’s Golf Coaches Association released its updated national rankings. For the first time in program history, Carleton sits atop the WGCA top-25 and finds itself in a tie with Washington (Mo.) University. The Knights played like a top-ranked team throughout the weekend as they set new MIAC Championships 36- and 54-hole team scores.

Carleton also made conference history by becoming the first squad to have its five-player lineup conclude the championships in spots 1-5 on the individual leaderboard. In fact, no other team has ever put more than three players inside the top five.

The Knights tallied team scores of 303, 299, and 302 at Pebble Creek Golf Club to shatter the conference championship standard of 924 established by these same five women a year ago. Sunday’s 299 was tied for the second-best single-round score in MIAC Women’s Golf Championships history, matching the final-round performance of the 2014 Carleton squad and two strokes behind the second-round score posted by the 2015 St. Thomas team. The Knights’ other two rounds of this year’s conference tournament rank as the program’s third- and fourth-best MIAC Championships 18-hole scores.

Saint Benedict finished a distant second with a team score of 970, which would have been good enough to win the conference tournament as recently as 2010. Gustavus Adolphus took third place at 971, and St. Catherine was fourth at 985.

This is the fifth time since 1992 that a women’s golfer has won back-to-back conference titles, and Wang joins Grace Gilmore ’16 as the lone Carleton players to achieve the feat. Wang posted scores of 73-74-74 this time around to complete the three-day tournament with a five-over par total of 221, establishing a new MIAC Championships record.

Alyssa Akiyama (Jr./Terrace Park, Ohio/Seven Hills School) was the runner-up, wrapping up the tournament two strokes behind her teammate after carding 75’s on Saturday and Monday to bookend a 73 on Sunday. The 2016 MIAC Championships medalist momentarily set the conference tournament 54-hole scoring mark at 223, only to see it broken a few minutes later when Wang completed her round and signed her scorecard.

Abby Euyang (So./Seattle, Wash./Lakeside) took third place at 231 after notching scores of 79-75-77 during her rounds. Ayumi Sakamoto (Sr./Honolulu, Hawaii/ʻIolani School) improved her score each day of the tournament, totaling 79 strokes in the opening round and following that up with a 77 on Sunday and a four-over par 76—tied for the day’s third-best score—on Monday.

Alexis Chan (So./Castle Rock, Colo./Rock Canyon) completed the top-five sweep for Carleton. After turning in scores of 76 and 79 over the first two days, she carded an 80 in the final round to finish at 235, concluding the championships at 19-over par.

All five Knights were named to the All-Championships team and will receive All-MIAC recognition when the season awards are announced in the spring. Wang and Sakamoto become the 11th and 12th players in MIAC history to earn all-conference honors all four years.

The race for the individual crown came down to the final five holes. Thanks to three birdies on the front nine—giving her a conference-best six birdies for the tournament, Akiyama held a two-stroke advantage over Wang heading into the par-five 14th hole. Akiyama parred that hole, and Wang holed out from 96 yards out to move into a tie with her teammate. That was the lone eagle of the tournament.

Wang converted challenging par putts on No. 16 and No. 17 to move in front, and calmly two-putted on No. 18 to secure the title.

Carleton won all five tournaments it played this fall and has now won 16 consecutive regular-season events dating back to April 15, 2017. The Knights also have a pair of top-7 results at the NCAA Championships over this span.

Carleton will return to competition in the spring and will conclude the 2018-19 season at the NCAA Championships from May 14-17 at Bay Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas. That will be Carleton’s fourth trip to nationals since 2015 as the program also secured an at-large berth to the 2017 national championship.