TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Seminole women’s golf coach Amy Bond competed in the NCAA Tournament four times as a player. She was an assistant coach on four Florida State teams that played in the tournament. She will take her seventh consecutive Florida State team to the tournament as its head coach when the Seminoles begin play in the NCAA Columbus (Ohio) Regional on May 8.
With all of the success she has earned as a player and a coach during her career, one might think that the announcement of the 72-team NCAA field last week was just another day in the life of the third all-time winningest coach in the storied history of the Seminole program.
If you even begin to think that, you don’t know Amy Bond.
“I was as nervous as I have ever been for an NCAA Tournament selection show,” said Bond. “The feeling of seeing the selections and teams invited to play in the NCAA tournament hasn’t changed one bit since I was a freshman in 1996. I vividly remember the day that we found out we were selected to play in the tournament for my first time. It was tremendously exciting – as was finding out we had been selected to play this season. It’s a great honor to be picked to play in the tournament.”
Florida State is making its 22nd NCAA regional championship appearance and its school-record 12th consecutive appearance in 2017. The Seminoles have played in every NCAA Tournament since finishing fourth at the NCAA East Regional and advancing to the NCAA Championships in 2006. The Seminoles finished in a school-record second place at the 2016 NCAA Shoal Creek Regional Championship.
For Bond, guiding a team to the NCAA Tournament is what she does every year.
Bond has led Florida State into the NCAA Championship tournament in each of her first seven seasons as Florida State’s head coach. Bond’s streak of seven consecutive NCAA Championship appearances ties the school record held by Debbie Dillman (Bond’s coach at Florida State), who guided the Seminoles to seven consecutive NCAA appearances from 1991 through 1997.
“We were comfortable that we would be selected to play in the NCAAs this year,” said Bond. “It was really a question of where we would be sent to play. But it is great to see your name called and know that your team has accomplished another one of its goals. Going to the tournament as a team is great for your players because that’s how you play all year long – as a team with your teammates.”
Bond has led Florida State to a school-record six team championships in 2016-17 (Schooner Fall Classic, Jim West Challenge, Cardinal Cup, Florida State Match-Up, Dickson Intercollegiate, Clemson Invitational). The Seminoles’ six team championships are one more than the Seminoles won during the 1980-81 season (Lady Gator Invitational, Lady Paladin Invitational, Dick McGuire Invitational, South Florida Invitational, A.I.A.W. National Championship) in winning the national championship.
Florida State enters the 2017 NCAA Columbus Regional Championship with 10 top-5 team finishes in its first 10 events of the 2016-17 fall and spring seasons. The Seminoles have finished no lower than fourth in the team standings of any of their 10 events this season (they finished in fourth place in the Cougar Fall Classic). The school record for top-5 finishes came in 1981, when the Seminoles won five events and earned 11 top-5 team finishes.
The Seminoles enter the 2017 NCAA Championships having finished in third place or better in eight consecutive events.
“Our girls have done an amazing job of preparation, staying in the moment and controlling the things they can control,” said Bond. “They have worked hard for this moment since the end of last season when we finished in the top 15 at the national championships. I sincerely believe our returning players look back to the last round of the NCAA Championships a year ago knowing they had the ability to advance further in the knockout stage. I think that has driven them through this season. “
Florida State is one of the most experienced squads in the 72-team NCAA Championships tournament with two seniors (Matilda Castren and Lydia Gumm), two juniors (Kim Metraux and Morgane Metraux) and one freshman (Amanda Doherty) who have played in a combined 155 career matches and helped Florida State win nine tournament championships in the last four seasons.
The veteran group of Seminoles have played in a combined nine NCAA Regional Championships (Castren, three; Gumm, three; Morgane Metraux, two, Kim Metraux, one) entering the 2017 event and led the Seminoles to a school-record second place finish at the NCAA Shoal Creek Regional Championship in 2016.
The Seminoles’ lineup at the 2017 NCAA Columbus Regional Championship will be one of the most powerful in school history. Included in the Seminoles’ lineup for the regional is the No. 1 (Castren, 72.23), No. 3 (Doherty, 73.24), No. 4 (Morgane Metraux, 73.35), No. 5 (Gumm, 73.78) and No. 6-ranked golfers (Kim Metraux, 73.83) in school history.
“The great thing about this lineup is that none of the girls have been driven by individual success,” said Bond. “Each of the girls have contributed tremendously to our team success. All of them have earned top-10 finishes and all of them are playing their best golf going into the month of May. You could say that our upperclassmen have been our leaders and that is true but all of our girls have taken their turn at leading this team. They all care about each other; team success is all that matters.”
Florida State needs to finish as one of the top six teams in the NCAA Columbus regional to advance to the championship finals for the second consecutive season. As the No. 2 seed in the region (its highest seed ever) and competing against seven teams in the top 30 (including the host Ohio State team), Bond knows here team is facing a formidable task in advancing to the championship finals.
“We need to go up to Columbus, play the golf course and see what happens on Wednesday,” said Bond.