Mustangs Begin Play Monday With Elevated Expectations
DALLAS (SMU) - As the SMU women's golf team prepares for its first tournament of the season, expectations are high for the 2012-13 campaign. The team is getting some early national recognition, including receiving votes in the Golf World/NGCA Coaches' Preseason Poll.
"We hope to win some tournaments," Head Coach Jeanne Sutherland said. "We hope to be ranked high enough to get an invitation to NCAA Regionals and play in the NCAA Championships."
To reach the NCAAs, toughness is necessary. The season is long and grinding, especially with a schedule as tough as SMU's.
"We're playing a lot tougher tournaments this year, and that's very good for us," Sutherland said. "We'll get to compete against the best teams in the country. We'll see a lot of great teams week-in and week-out this fall."
It also helps to have a talented roster, and the coach thinks the current squad has plenty of skill.
"The great thing about the team this year is there seems to be a lot of depth," Sutherland said. Qualifying was very close, and two freshmen, Alexandra Rossi and Jenny Haglund, finished first and second in the qualifiers.
Felicia Espericueta, the team's top-returning player, underwent shoulder surgery this summer that prevented her from competing or practicing. After posting a final-round 70 in qualifying (the top qualifying score), Sutherland is confident that her junior is ready.
"She wasn't able to compete or even hit balls all summer and is already pretty close back to her form," Sutherland said. "Her mental toughness may overcome her lack of playing opportunities this summer."
SMU starts its season on Monday at the Chip N Invite in Lincoln, Neb. The Mustangs won the event last season, and will look to repeat. Fans can follow the action live on GolfStat.com.