March 7, 2013
DEKALB, Ill. -The Northern Illinois women's golf team will travel to suburban Phoenix to compete in Western Michigan's Rio Verde Invitational on the Rio Verde Country Club's White Wing Course Mar. 8-10.
"It's going to be a strong field," said NIU head coach Kim Kester. "There are a lot of MAC schools in the field, so it we will have a good indication of where we stand in conference play."
NIU will be part of a 17-team field, the largest it's been in this season. Along with host Broncos, the Huskies contend with MAC foes Akron, Bowling Green, Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Ohio and Toledo. Arkansas-Little Rock, Bradley, Missouri-Kansas City, Missouri State, Montana, Northern Arizona, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Wichita State, and Xavier are also in the field.
Northern Illinois enters the event on the heels of a season-best runner-up finish at the Gary Freeman Invitational. Every Huskie finished inside the top 20 of the six-team event, with senior Allie Parthie (Marinette, Wis./Marinette) and sophomore Taylor Ellett (Hampshire, Ill./Hampshire) notching top 10s.
Parthie lowered her team-best scoring average to 78.7 with her individual runner-up finish. The performance was her 10th career top-five showing, although the Wisconsin native still searches for her first collegiate victory.
Taylor Ellet's tie for sixth was her best ever as a Huskie, topping her eighth-place finish at the 2011 SIUE Intercollegiate. That Gary Freeman Invitational showing may be the sign of resurgence for Ellett, whose total of 163 matched her best of the 2012-13 season. The Hampshire High School product will look to replicate that form in the Grand Canyon State.
Rounding out the Huskie lineup are freshman Connie Ellett (Hampshire, Ill./Hampshire), junior Jenny Niemiec (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) and sophomore Casey LaBarbera (Marinette, Wis./Marinette).
The Huskies will be teeing up on the White Wing course at Rio Verde Country Club. The course was opened in 1971 and was redesigned by the Tom Lehman Design Group. This is the second time this tournament will be played on the White Wing course, with the previous year's event being held at Rio Verde's Quail Run track. White Wing will stretch to 6,215 yards and play to par 72.
NIU will tee off at 12:00 PM (CT) on Friday for its first 18 holes. The second and third rounds will each consist of 18 holes and begin at 7:00 AM (CT). Live stats will be available through Golftstat.com.