Behind star freshman Hanako Kawasaki (Questrom), two weeks ago the BU women’s golf team won the 2019 Patriot League Championship for only the second time in program history. Now, with the automatic bid that comes with that championship, the Terriers will compete in the 2019 NCAA Regional Tournament, beginning today, Monday, May 6, at Cle Elum, Wash.
“I’m excited to see what it’s like to play with that level of competition and see where we match up,” says junior Abby Parsons (COM). “Hopefully, it’ll give us confidence to know we can compete and continue to come to this level and have the success that those teams have.”
Kawasaki, who set new program records in both 36-hole and 54-hole events during the season, is the first freshman to win a Patriot League Championship. She is also the first player in conference history to be named both Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year.
“Hanako really pushed us, because she’s so good, and we want to get to her level and be able to do what she does,” Parsons says.
As the team heads into the NCAA regionals, players say a key piece will be to remain calm and focused on the task. Whenever Parsons saw head coach Bruce Chalas that first day at the conference championships, she asked him how the team was doing and heard the same word over and over: “Fine.”
“I think he said that on purpose, so I wouldn’t be overconfident or scared,” Parsons says. “He would just say, ‘Keep it up.’ After we had the one-shot lead the second day, whenever I asked him how we were doing, he would say that we’re playing great. That gave me a cushion. I knew we were playing well, and I wanted to make the lead even stronger.”
With the regionals being played in Washington State, Chalas says his primary concern is the travel—a seven-hour flight and a two-hour drive, then getting ready to compete within 48 hours of arriving. While travel is nothing new to the Terriers, who have competed all over the East Coast during the spring season, the regionals come as the student-athletes are coping with final exams, both before and after the tournament.
As for the technical part of the game, the Terriers won’t be making any adjustments. “We don’t need to be making changes,” says Chalas. “Obviously, the competition level has stepped up dramatically, but it’s tough for everybody. There are a lot of good teams here. A lot of good teams will make it to the next stage, and a lot of teams won’t.”
With BU ranked second-to-last in a field of 18 teams, the Terriers’ expectations are different for the NCAA Regionals than they were for the Patriot League Championship. Still, the players are clear that they aren’t flying across the country just to play. They want to win.
“You want to go there thinking you can compete with those teams,” Doleckova says. “We’re not there just because we won the Patriot League…. You don’t want that type of thinking. You can compete. You never know what’s gonna happen. Golf is very unexpected.”
The Boston University women’s golf team plays in the 2019 Division 1 NCAA Women’s Golf Regional Championship at the Tumble Creek Club, Cle Elum, Wash., hosted by the University of Washington, Monday, May 6, through Wednesday, May 8. If the Terriers qualify for one of the top 24 spots in the 54-hole regional set, they will head to the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., from May 17 to 22.