The girls are looking up, but must find faith in freshmen
Published: Friday, September 10, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 16:11
With three freshmen and a lone senior on the roster, a first glance of the Women's golf team might render them unable to compete.
However, this season looks up for the Lady Mustangs who posted a 2009 average combined score of 313.18, and 25.61 versus par. They had three top-10, and eight top-15 finishes as a team in a total of only 10 tournaments as well.
The Lady Mustangs finished fifth in Hattiesburg, Mississippi for the Conference USA Championships in April. Their final round combined 300 put them 8 shots back of a top-three finish, but still a long way off of competing with Tulane's winning score of 858.
Head Coach Todd Sanders is in his 10th season as a Mustang, and has received numerous awards including WAC coach of the year in 2004 and 2005.
His tenure as head coach has turned the program into a nationally contending force.
The women will look to the only Senior Tia Gannon to lead them this year. Gannon played in 9 tournaments in 2010, averaging a score of 28.4 over 25 rounds. She tied teammate Liz Wells for 19th at the C-USA Championships, and posted a 78.4 stroke average over 25 rounds on the season.
In February Gannon was named Conference USA Golfer of the Week after carding a career low 54-hole total of 229 at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic. This marked her first Golfer of the Week award, and shows her continuing improvement towards making herself a standout leader on the team.
Gannon, Juniors Jennifer Hooper and Liz, Wells, and Sophomore Felicia Espericueta all finished in the top 20 at C-USA, with Hooper leading the way finishing tied for 15th overall.
The program's recent past has been plagued with an unfortunate string of injuries and mishaps, but the 2009 recruiting class has given the team an array of young hope.
Freshmen Caitlin Pisciotta (Alpharetta HS Alpharetta, GA) and Amy Ruengmateekhun (Bishop Lynch HS, Garland, Tx) each finished strong in both the AJGA Palmetto Junior Classic and the Texas Women's Open this June. At the Palmetto Classic at the Columbia Country Clun in Columbia S.C, Pisciotta shot 75-72-75 in her fifth place finish. Their improvement, along with Claire Kinsey (Francis Parker HS Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.)
Piscotta comes in as Golfweek's No. 73- ranked golfer in the 2010 class, after leaving Georgia as the fifth-ranked player in the state, she and Ruengmateekhun will be vital to the continuing strength of the program.
Junior Kalie Presti was another honored Mustang, one of only 420 students earning the Conference USA Commissioner's Academic Medal for the 2009-2010 academic year.
The Lady Mustangs open this weekend at the University of Michigan Golf Course for the Wolverine Invitational. The course is set at 6,098-yard par 71, and will be played by 13 schools in the NCAA. Each team will be allowed five players, counting the low score for each of the two rounds on Saturday and the final round Sunday.