MILWAUKEE, Wis. (naccsports.org) --- Lakeland University will serve as host for the 2018 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) Women's Golf Championship this Friday through Sunday at Meadowridge Country Club in Racine, Wisconsin.
Teams will tee off beginning at 11 a.m. Friday morning with pairings determined by each team's 2017 NACC Championship finish. The top four teams from last year will go off in the opening flight, while the bottom four teams will tee off in the second flight. The teams will be flighted with the No. 1 individual player from each school teeing off first, followed by the No. 2 player, the No. 3s, No. 4s, etc.
Pairings for the second (Saturday, 10:30 a.m.) and third (Sunday, 9:30 a.m.) will be made according to the results from the previous day.
Sunday's champion will earn the NACC's automatic berth into the field at the 2019 NCAA Division III Women's Golf Championship, which will be held May 14-17 at Bay Oak Country Club in Houston, Texas.
Concordia University Wisconsin enters this year's championship event as defending champion, stopping a run of three straight titles by Aurora University. The Spartans have claimed the most NACC women's golf crowns with six, followed by the Falcons with five and Edgewood College with one.
2017 Recap: Last season, Concordia Wisconsin posted a three-day total of 1,077 to outdistance Aurora by 10 strokes. CUW's Leah Wilde became the first Falcon golfer since Nina Puch in 2014 to win medalist honors as she fired a 257 total (86-85-86) to edge teammate Maddy Zastrow (85-85-88--258) by a stroke.
Top Returners: The top 10 individuals plus ties following Sunday's final round will earn all-conference designation. This year, six golfers from last year's top ten plus ties return, including Marian's Tayler Wise (87-88-88--263), Aurora's Madison Erickson (89-87-89--265), Edgewood's Sarah Pophal (92-89-92--273), Lakeland's Jessi Spaight (94-93-90--277) and Ashlee Wierzbach (103-91-88--282) and Concordia Wisconsin's Molly Mundinger (97-99-86--282).
2018 Synopsis: Aurora, with a lineup featuring three freshmen, has the top scoring average this fall at 339.7 strokes per round. The Spartans have the top seven rounds among NACC schools, including a league-record 326 (+38) in the second round of the Illinois Wesleyan Fall Invitational.
Benedictine sits second with a 381.9 scoring average, followed by Lakeland (398.8) and Concordia Wisconsin (405.0).
Aurora players hold down the top five individual scoring averages, led by rookies Kallie Sakamoto (79.4 stroke average over seven rounds) and Hannah Schulz (85.1). Becca Haseman (86.3), Sarah Isaacs (87.6) and Lauren Anderson (89.1) round out the top five.
Benedictine's Kayla McHale has the top non-Aurora average at 90.0, followed by Edgewood's Pophal (90.5), Benedictine's Kelly Barker (90.9), Aurora's Erickson (91.0) and Lakeland's Ali Wilson (91.0).
Sakamoto has been dominant this fall, carding six of the NACC's top 11 individual rounds, including a 4-over-par 75 at the Judson Invitational on Sept. 10. She also posted an 80 to win medalist honors at the NACC Championship Preview, held Sept. 9 on the same Meadowridge layout they will play this weekend.
Schulz has two of the five remaining top-11 rounds, including a 79 at the season-opening Carthage Shootout. McHale, Barker and Haseman have one each.