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‘I’m not going to forget this moment’: Fierro, Tatematsu propel Cowgirls to National Championship match

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Rina Tatematsu hits the ball down the green at Day 1 of the Cowgirl Classic at Karsten Creek on October 22, 2020 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Isabella Fierro screamed and stormed toward Rina Tatematsu.

Fierro was reacting to Tatematsu’s match clinching par putt on the 16th hole. The par putt hoisted the Cowgirls to a clean 5-0 sweep of defending champions and ACC champions Duke in the NCAA semifinals.

“When she made it, I couldn’t hold myself, I just ran to her and hugged her. I said, ‘Rina we did it,’ I can’t even explain the experience. I’m not going to forget this moment,” an emotional Fierro said.

The domination started when Maja Stark won her match over Gina Kim 4 & 3, then Isabella Fierro stepped on the gas. Fierro led her match against Erica Shepard from the third hole on, but on hole 13 she clinged to a one-up lead. Then she slammed the door winning 2&1 on the 17th green.

“When I made that putt, I thought I was going to pass out,” Fierro said.

Fierro didn’t have the stroke play she had hoped for in her NCAA debut, but she bounced back winning both of her matches Tuesday. Something coach Greg Robertson never doubted.

“Really proud of the way she competed. She’s a great player,” Robertson said.

The Cowgirls needed just one more point to win the match. The point in the end came from Tatematsu, but Lianna Bailey and Maddison Hinson Tolchard were both leading in their respective matches. Bailey had won four of her last six holes and was one hole away from closing out her match, but Tatematsu called, game.

“I don’t think she knows how good she is and the talent she has,” Fierro said.

The Cowgirls won their quarterfinal matchup early Tuesday morning against SEC Champion Auburn 4-1 to clinch their spot in the semifinals. In all the Cowgirls won nine of 10 matches on the first day of match play.

This is the first time the Cowgirls have been in NCAA match play in school history.

The No. 3-seed Cowgirls will face No. 4-seed Ole Miss for the National Championship Wednesday.

“Guts is a good way to put it,” Robertson said. “I’m just really proud of them all.”