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Women's Golf wins the National Championship!

Propelled by the play of their three freshmen, the Washington women's golf team defeated Stanford three games to two to win the 2016 NCAA National Championship match Wednesday night, held at the Eugene Country Club.

It took 20 holes to decide the championship, but freshman Julianne Alvarez was able to par the hole, while Stanford senior Lauren Kim couldn't get up and down from the left side of the green. 

The match was also punctuated by a 51-yard hole out for birdie on the final hole of the game between Washington senior Ying Luo and Stanford junior Casey Danielson. 

Below is a transcript of Washington's post-match press conference.

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by the national champions the Washington Huskies. Congratulations on a tremendous week here in Eugene. We have with us Mary Lou Mulflur and student-athletes, Ying Luo, Charlotte Thomas, Julianne Alvarez, Wenyung Keh and Sarah Rhee joining us. We'll start with an opening statement from Mary Lou.

MARY LOU MULFLUR: Just incredibly proud of these guys. I keep saying the same thing over and over, but they just are a special, special group, and sometimes it's just your turn, and the things that happened this week with Sarah holing out of the bunker yesterday and Ying's hole-out today and Julianne's chip shot and people coming left and right doing things, and steady senior leadership that gets us here, I just couldn't be more proud of them.

Q. Julianne, obviously your match was key today. Take us through your mindset as you went through those extra holes and as you came to the second extra hole.
JULIANNE ALVAREZ: Yeah, I don't think I can say what I was thinking on TV. But you know, my mind going through those next extra playoff holes was just going a million miles an hour and nowhere at the same time. With all of that going on in my head, I just tried to refocus, take a deep breath, and focus on the next shot, getting the ball in the hole, in as few strokes as possible.

Q. Julianne, did you let nerves get to you on the last putt, and how did you recover?
JULIANNE ALVAREZ: Yeah, I would say a little bit of nerves played into my game, especially on the last hole. I was really nervous on the green. But then, you know, knowing that I was still in it, I wasn't out yet, I still had those extra playoff holes. I needed to regroup. I had no time to be frustrated or angry. I just had to focus on getting the job done. Yeah.

Q. Coach and Charlotte, what do you think that these last two years have done for the perception of women's college golf?
CHARLOTTE THOMAS: I think having -- the way that the national championships have played out has just been unbelievable. You think about last year, and it was Haley and Mariah, two of the best players in college golf going down in extra holes to the championship, and then this year Julianne, Sarah, Ying, doing all these crazy things in order to get the title. It's amazing for TV, and it showed people that girls can do it, too. Some people don't believe that, and it kind of sucks, but we are just as exciting and just as -- it's just as thrilling watching the women's game as it is watching the men's game. We may not be able to hit it as far but we can deal with the right things. Yeah, it's crazy how I think the public see that the Golf Channel and being able to be on television and have people see the shot that Sarah played yesterday, people would just be talking about it, but the fact that they can see it now and see how great that was and see how great Ying holing out from 61 yards is, it just changes the game completely.

MARY LOU MULFLUR: You know, as most of you know, I was not a big proponent of match play. But I also have a saying, it doesn't matter what they say, as long as they're talking about you, and people are talking about women's college golf. Charlotte just said it beautifully. The way things have ended, the excitement, you can't script it any better than what's happened last year and this year on the final day. And yet even. For us at the end, we were looking kind of dead in the water, and man, they just -- Sarah just -- like I said, ridiculous was a term somebody used. Just incredible. And to see the skill that these guys have, and like Charlotte said, maybe they can't hit it as far, but that doesn't mean they can't get it in the hole just as well.

Q. Ying, the 51-yard hole-out there, what's it like when you realize it's in the hole?
YING LUO: I used my 64-degree wedge, and I couldn't believe it went in.

Q. Did it come out exactly how you wanted in your mind?
YING LUO: Pretty much. I was thinking to put that in, and I did it. I was thinking about Sarah, and yeah.

Q. How big of a deal is it for you to send the seniors out with a national championship?
JULIANNE ALVAREZ: It's a big deal. It's something that from the very beginning -- not the beginning, very early on, after that little awkward period that people are talking about, after that then we got the right people. They're awesome people and we're going to miss them so much. We really don't want them to graduate. But they are because they're so smart. But yeah, since the very beginning we've always wanted to make this year memorable for this, too, and we're really glad that we were able to deliver and send them off with a nice little --

Q. What got you off the awkward train? What made it change?
JULIANNE ALVAREZ: I mean, it's always going to be weird when you meet someone new. But just time, getting to know them better, and the fact that they're awesome people, it's really easy to get along with awesome people.

Q. Mary Lou, what does it mean to you to do it in Oregon?
MARY LOU MULFLUR: Storybook ending, honestly. Growing up in Portland, and I spent my whole life here until I went up to Seattle to go to school, and just have so many memories, and Chris Dunn, the superintendent here, I've known since I was a little kid. I was just a little bit younger than his sister Kathy who's just an unbelievable player, one of the best players to ever come out of the state, and you know, to go back so far with people and to be here on Chris's golf course basically is just unbelievable. That golf course is so pure. The greens are perfect. It's fair. If you hit good shots, you get rewarded. If you don't, you get penalized, but you don't -- you still have a chance. I'm not sure that's sunk in all the way yet that home is just 90 minutes away.

Q. Coach, what do you make of the fact that in two years of match play, schools have just won their first national title?
MARY LOU MULFLUR: I think it speaks to the depth of the game more than anything. When I first started coaching, you could have one good player and a supporting cast, and then it became two, three, four, and now you're five and six deep. It just makes it -- I completely forgot your question.

Q. Two years of match play.
MARY LOU MULFLUR: Yeah. I just think it speaks of the depth of our sport. You know, how many teams had an opportunity to win this week? I don't think at the beginning of the year we were on anybody's radar to win, much less be in the final eight or the semifinals even. It just goes to show you with match play, anything can happen, and like I said, the depth on the women's side, it continues to get better and better and better. It's not -- it used to be how much is ASU going to win by, or Duke, and it could be by 50. That's what used to happen. But people have slowly caught up, and there's more and more depth in the sport. There's more depth than ever before. It's just going to continue to grow.

Q. Do you think your fellow coaches are coaching nationals differently now given the format, given the history?
MARY LOU MULFLUR: Yeah, I think the one thing that I learned last year from making it into the match play was that you cannot -- we could play match play every day in practice. We could do whatever. You cannot replicate what it feels like for them to be out there with the whole world watching. It's like you're naked and everybody can see you. You just can't replicate it, and no matter what we do, we'll play a match with somebody or whatever, it's not the same. Would you guys agree? It's not the same.

I think telling them that, that you know what, you guys, no matter what, it's not going to be the same, and we can't treat it the same, but that doesn't mean we can't keep doing our thing the same.

Q. I know that the last hole obviously is going to get the attention, but the hole before, how far was that wedge shot you got up-and-down on? Was that 90 yards?
JULIANNE ALVAREZ: Oh, the 19th hole. Okay, so it was 74 meters, so that's 81 yards, yeah. Yeah, and it landed just before the pin, hopped over the hole --

Q. That was the best shot you hit all day, and that was a really clutch shot, obviously.
JULIANNE ALVAREZ: Yeah, we drill all those shots all the time when we're at the playground. A lot of chipping. A lot of chipping and pitch shots and short game. When I got over that ball and I lasered it and I saw it was 74, it's one of my favorite distances, so it's like, oh, yeah, this is going in. Not quite. Not quite there. But I gave it a go.

Q. Following up on that, your last chip, given what has happened there, did you almost feel like it was going to go in?
JULIANNE ALVAREZ: Yeah, yeah, like with that shot on the 19th and then my chip on the 20th, I was like, I want to get in on that action. I just couldn't quite do it both times. But you know, I'll take those two shots any day.

Q. Ying, you got the second exemption for the Marathon Classic coming up in July. Your thoughts on getting that?
YING LUO: I have to thank my coaches and my teammates for giving me the opportunity.


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