ASU women's golf coach Melissa Luellen looks ahead to postseason
The ASU women's golf program is no stranger to the postseason.
Since 1990, the Sun Devils have won seven national championships, including one by coach Melissa Luellen.
Luellen, who also won two conference titles back when it was the Pac-10, knows that the Pac-12 is stronger than ever this year.
"We have three of the top five in the nation in our conference," Luellen said. "It has always been super competitive. The quality of the universities in our conference attract high-level golfers."
The three teams Luellen is referring to are top-ranked USC, second-ranked UCLA and her Sun Devils, who are ranked fourth.
Despite the tough field, Luellen said her team has been motivated for the postseason since a poor showing at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate in early March and that the Sun Devils know what it takes to win.
"They have to believe. Strong minds," Luellen said. "After we finished poorly at the Darius Rucker in South Carolina, I have felt a strong determination from the team. They have a lot of fight and talent. Playing well at home was a very good confidence booster, and we feel as the season progresses, we will continue to get stronger."
ASU has arguably the most prestigious women's golf program in the nation, having won more national championships and produced more individual titles in the tournament than any school in the country.
Any team can fall to the pressure of expectation no matter how good it is, and Luellen knows this. Instead, she preaches the importance of setting goals for her team.
"Expectations are dangerous; goals are attainable," Luellen said. "We have all the resources available to us to be successful. We believe we are one of the top teams and expect to always be competitive with any team we face."
ASU has certainly been competitive. In its nine regular season tournaments, the Sun Devils have placed in the top five seven times.
The NCAA regionals will perhaps provide the toughest challenge for the Sun Devils, as they happen to fall during final exams.
"We have to manage school and practice carefully," Luellen said. "Our NCAA regionals is the same week as finals, which can be very stressful, especially for the seniors."
In that case it will be especially stressful for the Sun Devils this year, as half of the team is made up of seniors.
The Sun Devils will compete in the Pac-12 championships in Corvallis, Ore., from April 25 to April 27. The last time ASU won the Pac-12 title was in 2009, when it later went on to win its most recent NCAA championship.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @HKossodo