Four of the five players have been here before.
Senior Stephanie Arcala, junior Malin Enarsson and sophomores Gina Clark and Christine Wong were starters last season when the San Diego State women’s golf team earned an NCAA Regional bid.
Sophomore transfer Alessia Knight, on the other hand, will be making her debut as SDSU makes another trip to the NCAA Regionals, taking place today through Saturday at the Washington National Golf Course in Auburn, Wash.
“I’m incredibly excited,” Knight said. “It feels great to be here because we’ve all worked so hard and we deserve to be here. I’m excited to compete and I’m even more excited to be here with such an amazing group of people. Sharing this experience with my teammates is priceless.”
Knight, a dual citizen of Italy and the United States, has been a member of the Italian national golf team since 2005. She has taken full advantage of the opportunity, representing Italy in five European team championships, as well as being instrumental in Italy claiming the Sherry Cup by a single stroke at the European Team Stroke Play Championships last summer.
She has also been just as successful at the individual level, winning the title in 2007 at the Belgian Ladies Internationals.
While these are significant achievements for Knight, she said participating in the NCAA West Regionals is just as momentous to her. She wasn’t able to play on a team during some of the tournaments in Europe, so getting the opportunity to do so is sentimental to her.
“We just want to go out there and have fun really,” Knight said. “We’ve been playing good and all we have to do is play how we know how to play without putting too much pressure on ourselves. We always say ‘fire and passion.’”
The Aztecs are one of 16 teams in the West region with a top-50 national ranking from golfstat.com. Seven of those squads are in the top 20, with No. 1 USC, No. 6 Virginia and No. 7 Arizona leading the pack.
As far as region seeding, SDSU is No. 16 in a field of 24 teams that features Mountain West Conference foes BYU and New Mexico. SDSU will be paired with the No. 17 seed Cougars and No. 18 seed Lobos for the first two rounds with tee off set for 12:30 p.m. today.
In order to advance to the NCAA National Championships at the Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas, the Aztecs need to finish as one of the top eight squads. SDSU has sent an individual in the past, but has yet to qualify as a team.
“It is NCAA Regionals and it’s very important,” Knight said. “But it’s just another golf tournament. We’ve played many of them and we always do our best and try to win. We understand this is the most important tournament we’ve had this year but if we play with passion and we really want it we have a good chance to write SDSU history.”