BRADENTON, Fla. – Players on the Stanford men’s team got all the motivation they needed Wednesday as they watched their classmates win the NCAA Women’s Championship.
Since you’re wondering: No school has swept both the men’s and women’s NCAA titles since 1990 (Arizona State).
“To see the emotions and how it all came together,” Stanford coach Conrad Ray said, “it was good for some of our young guys to get a sense of that.
“It’s not as good as winning one yourself, but seeing that was pretty good, too.”
Stanford flew into town Wednesday morning and made it to Concession in time to catch the women’s team at the turn.
At the time, their outlook appeared bleak – they were 3 down in two matches, and 2 down in another.
Shannon Aubert cruised to a 4-and-3 win, her third of the week, but the other Stanford players were in trouble.
In the leadoff spot, sophomore Casey Danielson had a 2-up lead on 13, but she lost that hole (with a triple-bogey 8) and dropped the 14th, too. No matter. She came back with birdies on both 17 and 18 to win the match, 2 up, improve to 3-0 for the week and keep Stanford’s title hopes alive.
“Seeing how one person can change the momentum of a match was really eye-opening to me,” Cardinal sophomore Maverick McNealy said. “Every match has the potential to be a two-point swing.”
Another very interested observer at Concession was Danielson’s brother, Charlie, a junior on Illinois’ team.
“I hope it motivates her,” he said Thursday. “She didn’t have the best year, but maybe this will get her going.”
Danielson was part of the Illini’s NCAA finalist team in 2013, and he said that appearance propelled him to a strong summer and sophomore season.
“Having that experience pumped me up and made me hungry for more,” he said. “Hopefully it does the same for Casey.”
The Cardinal still needed Mariah Stackhouse to flip a 3-down deficit in the anchor match.
Stackhouse was 2 down to Baylor’s Hayley Davis while standing in the 17th fairway, but she piped a hybrid to 25 feet to set up a birdie, then stuffed an iron shot to 10 feet on 18 to force extra holes.
“She’s just a gamer,” Ray said. “You could just sense the moment was there, and from that point she was zoned in.”
With the championship on the line, Stackhouse made par on the 19th hole to complete the incredible comeback and lift the Cardinal to the win.
“She’s a really good closer,” sophomore Viraat Badhwar said. “That was really inspirational for us to see.”