Sept. 13, 2013
The 2013-14 season marks a new era in the Minnesota women's golf program as the Gophers host their first home tournament since 2005 with the Minnesota Invitational.
Set for Sept. 16-17 with a 12-team field, the Minnesota Invitational will be held at the Minikahda Club in Minneapolis, previous host site of the 1916 U.S. Open, the 1927 U.S. Amateur, the 1957 Walker Cup, the 1988 U.S. Women's Amateur and the 1998 Curtis Cup.
The Minnesota Invitational kicks off the 2013-14 season for the Gophers and third-year head coach Michele Redman with the program looking to improve on its eight-place finish at last season's Big Ten championships. The Gophers finished eighth or better in eight tournaments last season, highlighted by a second-place finish at the BYU Entrada Classic last March.
The Gophers will start the 2013-14 season as one of the most experienced squads in the Big Ten, returning five letter winners from last season after losing senior Jackie Shepherd to graduation. Junior Carmen Laguna enters the season as Minnesota's top returner with a 74.93 stroke average after competing in all 10 tournaments for Minnesota last season with five top-20 finishes including three in the top five. Minnesota also returns senior Banchalee Theinthong, who posted four top-20 finishes and three top-10 finishes in nine tournaments last year, juniors Anna Laorr and Sarinee Thitiratanakorn, both of whom competed in all 10 tournaments last year for the Gophers, and junior Taylor Quinn, who saw action in seven tournaments for Minnesota in 2012-13. The Gophers also return a pair of redshirt freshmen in Alexandra Buska and Amanda Juntti along with redshirt junior Tiffany Gretsch.
Additionally, Redman has added a pair of incoming freshmen to this year's squad in Sophie Kitchen and Emie Peronnin. Kitchen joins the Gophers from Collingwood, Ontario and won the Toronto Star Women's Amateur this summer, topping four college competitors in route to the title. Peronnin hails from Fréjus, France and held a 74.7 stroke average in 2012. Peronnin's tournament wins include the Grand Prix de Fontcaude, the Grand Prix de la Grande Motte and the Coupes Yves Caillo.
2013 Minnesota Invitaional Field
Cal State Fullerton
Location: Fullerton, Calif.
Enrollment: 37,677 Nickname: Titans
Conference: Big West
Head Coach: Pearl Sinn-Bonanni (5th season)
The Lowdown: Cal State Fullerton is coming off a fifth-place finish at the Big West Conference championships a year ago...the Titans return five golfers from last season's roster including three of the team's top scorers...Fullerton earned a team title last season at the Rose City Collegiate.
Top returning player: Tisha Alyn Abrea (junior)...76.30 scoring average last season...All-Big West Honorable Mention...posted six top-15 finishes and four top-10 finishes including a tie for 10th at the conference tournament...best individual finish was a tie for fourth at The Gold Rush.
Location: Champaign, Ill.
Conference: Big Ten
Head Coach: Renee Slone (8th season)
The Lowdown: Illinois finished 12th at the Big Ten championships last year after posting back-to-back trips to the NCAA Regionals in 2011 and 2012...the Illini bring back six returners from last year's squad and add two freshmen.
Top returning player: Ember Schuldt (senior)...the lone senior on Illinois' squad in 2013-14 led the team with a 76.90 stroke average last year...paced Illinois in four tournaments and ranked second on the team in four others...best finish was a tie for sixth at the Wolverine Invitational as the Illini finished third.
Location: Kent, Ohio
Nickname: Golden Flashes
Director of Golf: Herb Page (37th season)
Head Coach: Greg Robertson (1st season)
The Lowdown: A perennial powerhouse in the Mid-American Conference, Kent State captured its 15th-straight conference title in 2013...the Golden Flashes return six golfers from last year's squad and add three freshmen.
Top returning player: Jennifer Ha (junior)...Ha was the 2013 MAC Golfer of the Year and All-MAC First Team after earning an individual medal at the league tournament...Placed eighth at the NCAA West Regional and earned Kent State's second-ever bid to the NCAA championships...had four top-ten finishes and three in the top five.
Location: Lincoln, Neb.
Conference: Big Ten
Head Coach: Robin Krapfl (27th season)
The Lowdown: Nebraska finished 11th at the Big Ten championships a year ago, but the Cornhuskers return their entire roster as one of the most experienced teams in the conference...best finish as a team last season was sixth at the Missouri State/Payne Stewart Memorial with top-ten finishes from Katelyn Wright (tied-fourth) and Cassie Deeg (10th).
Top returning player: Cassie Deeg (sophomore)...a native of Hugo, Minn.,...led the Huskers at the Big Ten championships with a 32nd-place finish...posted Nebraska's second best stroke average as a true freshman (77.71)...Minnesota Junior Player of the Year and state Class 4AAA champion (2011).
San Diego State
Location: San Diego, Calif.
Conference: Mountain West
Head Coach: Leslie Spalding (3rd season)
The Lowdown: San Diego State finished fourth at the Mountain West championships a year ago and return All-Mountain West First Team golfers Paige Spiranac and Emma Henrikson...return six golfers from last year's squad and added a pair of freshmen.
Top returning player: Paige Spiranac (junior)...tied for 19th at the NCAA Central Regional...posted five top-25 finishes including two in the top six...joined the program during the semester break after playing the 2011-12 season at Arizona.
Location: San Marcos, Texas
Conference: Sun Belt
Head Coach: Mike Akers (8th season)
The Lowdown: Texas State is coming off its second-straight trip to the NCAA Regionals and its third in the last four years...the Bobcats return four golfers from last year's squad and add a pair of freshmen...Texas State finished third at the WAC championships last season with the 2013-14 marking the program's first year of competition in the Sun Belt Conference.
Top returning player: Iman Nordin (junior)...First Team all-conference last season...top returning stroke average for the Bobcats at 74.00...earned first career win at the Jim West Challenge last February.
Location: Irvine, Calif.
Conference: Big West
Head Coach: Julie Brooks (8th season)
The Lowdown: UC Irvine finished third at the Big West championships last season behind a pair of top-ten finishes including returning senior Ronnie Valerio and sent four competitors to the NCAA West Regional... the Anteaters return all but one of their squad from a year ago, which never finished lower than sixth at a tournament...the program featured three all-conference honorees while Brooks was named Big West Women's Golf Co-Coach of the Year.
Top returning player: Luciane Lee (sophomore)...UC Irvine's top returner with a 75.68 stroke average...posted five top-20 finishes and two top-ten finishes...First Team All-Big West Conference honoree.
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Head Coach: Lisa Johnson (7th season)
The Lowdown: Idaho finished fifth at the Western Athletic Conference Championship Tournament a year ago...the Vandals return seven players from last year's squad.
Top returning player: Rachel Choi (senior)...led the Vandals at the conference tournament with a fourth-place finish...shot a 221 for the tournament.
Long Beach State
Location: Long Beach, Calif.
Conference: Big West
Head Coach: Joey Cerulle (5th season)
The Lowdown: Long Beach State is coming off a runner-up finish at last year's Big West Conference Championship...the 49ers also earned team titles at The Gold Rush, the Black & Blue Rivalry Match with UC Irvine and the Fresno State Lexus Classic ...the program returns seven golfers from last year's squad and added a pair of freshmen for the 2013-14 season.
Top returning player: Chaewon Park (junior)...a 2013 Honorable Mention All-Big West golfer...finished the year with a 77.48 stroke average and posted four top-20 finishes including three in the top ten...paced LBSU at the Big West Conference championship with a tie for fifth place.
Location: Jacksonville, Fla.
Conference: Atlantic Sun
Head Coach: Jennifer Borocz (2nd season)
The Lowdown: A native of St. Paul, Minn. Borocz led the Dolphins to a sixth-place finish in the Atlantic Sun Conference in her first year as head coach...Jacksonville returns six golfers from last year's squad including five letter winners and added four freshmen for the 2013-14 season.
Top returning player: Jessica Welch (junior...Second Team All-Atlantic Sun honoree last season...tied for fourth at the Atlantic Sun Championships and added a tie for third at the Pinehurst Challenge earlier in the season...led the Dolphins with a 76.06 stroke average and recorded six top-20 finishes including four in the top 10.
Location: Augusta, Ga.
Head Coach: Kory Thompson (2nd season)
The Lowdown: Formerly known as Augusta State, Georgia Regents (GRU) sent a pair of competitors to the NCAA East Regional last year in returners Casey Kennedy and Natalie Wille ...the Jaguars signed four golfers to this year's incoming freshmen class and return seven competitors from a year ago -- all letter winners.
Top returning player: Natalie Wille (senior)...led the Jaguars with a 74.0 stroke average...posted eight top-20 finishes including six in the top ten and five in the top five...never finished below 13th individually throughout the spring season.
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