The Vanderbilt women’s golf team has adopted an unofficial third team color – pink – in addition to the traditional black and gold this week as they compete for a national championship.
One of the first things team members did when they arrived in Wilmington, N.C. for the NCAA Championship, which begins Tuesday at The Country Club of Landfall, was to purchase some pink ribbon. Each team member attached a piece with the word ‘Skip’ on it to her bag as a way to honor the memory of Erica Blasberg, a professional golfer who was found dead in her Las Vegas home on May 9.
Blasberg’s only tie to the Commodores was coach Greg Allen, who recruited her and coached her for two years at the University of Arizona, where she was a two-time All-American.
“She really loved pink,” Allen said. “We used to call her Skip. When the girls were making the ribbons for their bags, I was telling stories about what a fiery competitor (Blasberg) was.
“I asked them to go out and compete with that same kind of attitude this week.”
Allen said the players’ decision to honor someone with whom they shared only a tangential connection might seem unusual but is typical for a unit that became the university’s first since 2007 to qualify as a team for the national tournament.
The Commodores earned their way into the field when they finished fifth at the NCAA East Regional. It was during a team meeting at that event that Brooke Goodwin, the only senior on the roster, and Marina Alex, the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, both addressed their teammates and spoke about the unusual sense of camaraderie that exists.
“It really makes a difference to have that kind attitude,” Allen said. “Whether it’s hanging out at the hotel, warming up, riding in the van together you just have a good time.
“They really, really enjoy each others’ company and they love to play for each other.”
Vanderbilt has finished among the top five in five of the seven events they’ve played during the spring season. Their best finish was second at the SEC championship.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever had a group like this,” Allen said. “They’re all on the same page, and they really care for each other and play for each other every time they play.
“Their mentality is good. Their chemistry is good.”
And their color scheme is a little different.