Women’s golf coach disappointed to miss NCAA field

It wasn’t the phone call any of Minnesota’s women’s golfers wanted, but with the team’s recent struggles, it wasn’t unexpected.

The Gophers finished in ninth place at the Indiana Invitational on April 7, seventh place at the Lady Buckeye Invitational on April 22 and last among the 11 teams at the Big Ten Championships last weekend.

Still, it was tough for coach Melissa Arthur Ringler to call each of the golfers and tell them the Gophers weren’t selected to the NCAA Regional Championships.

“I had a feeling we were running close to the bubble during the spring season,” the third-year coach said. “I was disappointed to see a lot of teams we beat in tournaments this year made it ahead of us, which I thought was a huge part of the NCAA’s criteria.”

The No. 60 Gophers fail to qualify for the postseason for the third time in the last four years.

Eight teams will represent the Big Ten – Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Indiana, Northwestern, Illinois and Wisconsin – at the Central Regional in East Lansing, Mich.

– Adam Fink, Staff Reporter

Vladea honored

Sophomore Valerie Vladea was named to the All-Big Ten women’s tennis team, announced by the Big Ten office Tuesday. Vladea has now received the honor two years in a row.

Vladea produced a team-best 14-5 overall record, including an 8-3 record at the No. 1 singles position. Vladea also notched a 7-3 conference record, including a defeat of the Big Ten Player of the Year, Marine Piriou from Northwestern.

Vladea also posted impressive wins against Erica Fisk of Ohio State, Asa Liden of Michigan State, two against Kavitha Tipirneni (Michigan) and 2002 All-Big Ten selection Toni Neykova from Iowa.

In her two years, Vladea has tallied 25 wins in the spring season, 12 of which came in conference action. As a freshman, Vladea went 11-11 at the No. 1 Singles, earning an All-Big Ten accolade. She was the first Gopher frosh to receive the honor since Nora Sauska in 1997.

Partnering with Michaela Havelkova, the duo had a doubles record of 12-4 on the season and 7-3 in Big Ten play. In two seasons, Vladea and Havelkova have 25 wins at the No. 1 Doubles spot.

This season, in fall and spring combined, the duo went 20-8.

Berg, Kelley honored

Senior gymnast MaryAnne Kelley was presented with Senior Athlete of the Year, while former volleyball player Lindsey Berg was honored with the Big Ten Medal of Honor at the University of Minnesota Women’s Athletics’ annual Berg Awards Banquet held Tuesday.

The Senior Athlete of the Year award is voted on by the student- athletes. The award recipient is chosen for her performance athletically and academically but also for their character and leadership abilities.

Kelley, a native of Barrington, Ill., is one of just two Gopher gymnasts (Marie Roethlisberger) to earn multiple NCAA All-America honors, earning first-team All-America honors in floor exercise in 2002, second-team All-America in all around in 2002 and vault in 2001. Kelley led her team to its highest national finish (ninth) at the 2002 NCAA Championships and helped the Gophers advance to four post-season NCAA appearances in her career.

She was honored as the 2002 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year and was a 2002 All-Big Ten selection on floor exercise, the fourth All-Big Ten honor of her career. Kelley, a three-time team MVP and four-time Big Ten Gymnast of the Week, owns the Minnesota floor exercise record with a 9.975, she also owns the school all around record with a 39.600. A Honda Award finalist, Kelley scored 10 of the top 12 all around scores in Minnesota history.

The Big Ten Medal of Medal of Honor is the highest award to be bestowed upon a student-athlete in the Big Ten Conference. Each Big Ten school selects a senior student-athlete who represents the very best achievements in all areas: academic excellence, athletic achievement and leadership.

Berg, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, finished her career as a three-time AVCA All-District and All-Big Ten selection and ranked third in assists in Big Ten Conference history. Berg goes down in Gopher volleyball history with 5,913 career assists and led Minnesota to three NCAA Tournament appearances and two Sweet 16 berths. She became the first player to lead the Big Ten in service aces four straight years and finished third all-time in conference history with 283 aces.

Berg played in 128 career matches and was voted a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection as a senior. She has been selected to numerous all-tournament teams during the regular season and served as team captain for three years. She has earned team MVP nods for the past two seasons and was a four-year starter and a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.

Berg graduated last December with a marketing degree and is playing professional volleyball with the Minnesota Chill.