The 15th-ranked Virginia women's golf team take on the 13th-ranked Washington Huskies in match play today in the 2016 NCAA Championships. With a fifth place finish during the medal round, this is Virginia's first time reaching the match play portion, which was just instituted last year. Washington, who finished fourth this year, had participated in the match play championships last year having finished eighth in the medal rounds, but was eliminated in the first round by Stanford.
Who else made it to Match Play?
Joining 4th-seeded Washington and 5th-seeded Virginia are top-seeded UCLA against No. 8 seed Oregon; No. 2 seed Stanford vs. No. 7 seed South Carolina; and No. 3 seed USC vs. No. 6 seed Duke. Of the eight teams advancing, Virginia was among the lowest-ranked nationally, ahead of only No. 18 South Carolina and No. 20 Oregon. Top-ranked Alabama did not advance.
How did we get here?
After a sixth-place finish in the Stanford regional, Virginia grabbed the last available spot to advance to the NCAA Finals. Six teams from each of four regionals advanced to make a 24-team field. Each team plays three rounds to try to make the 15-team cut for the final day of medal play. Virginia started the third day right on the cusp, in 15th, but climbed their way up to 8th to advance to day four.
Virginia's team consists of freshman Morgan Gonzales, freshman Anna Redding, senior Elizabeth Szokol, junior Lauren Diaz-Yi, and ACC individual champion senior Lauren Coughlin.
Coughlin led the way for Virginia throughout the four rounds of play during the medal rounds, shooting even par 288. On the final day of medal play, Gonzales shot 3-under 69, while Szokol and Diaz-Yi each shot 2-under 70 to propel the Hoos up the standings to finish in 5th place.
How does Match Play work?
There are a total of five points available in each match during match play, which means that, unlike the medal rounds where only the top four scores of the day will count, all five golfers' scores will count towards match play. Each person goes head-to-head against an opponent. For the golf-uninitiated, if you see the term "all square," it means that both golfers have shot the same score.
When you look at the scores, you'll see something like, "A Redding (VA) LEADS S Rhee (Wash) 1UP thru 1." This means that, after the first hole ("thru 1"), Redding is up one over Rhee (e.g., Redding took three strokes to Rhee's four).
The first team to win three points will advance to the next round. Once a team has won three points, any remaining individual matches will stop, and the scores will be recorded as the match then-currently stands.
Where can I follow along?
You can follow live scoring via Golfstat right here.
If you have Golf Live Extra, you can also stream it online here. The Golf Channel will also carry live coverage of today's match play from 1:30-3:30 p.m. ET. Virginia teed off at 10:50 a.m. ET this morning.