Women's Golf Spring 2004 Outlook
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Women's Golf Spring 2004 Outlook
Six letterwinners return from a team that finished ranked No. 34 in the country and received an NCAA bid in the third year of the program's existence. These returnees welcome two highly touted freshmen for the 2003-04 campaign. All-Conference USA second team returnees, senior Jessica Krasny and junior Adrienne Millican have been a lethal 1-2 weapon for the Lady Pirates the last two years, and the same is expected of these two this year.
"Jessica and Adrienne have played a major role in the success of our program," said head coach Kevin Williams. "They are our 'go to' players and have consistently proven time and again why they have been ranked among the top 100 players in college golf."
Both players have their names firmly etched in the record books for this fourth year program. Millican leads the program in career stroke average (76.09), has won three individual titles, and has the second lowest single season stroke average of 75.6. She led the team this fall with a 74.89 stroke average in six events and finished in the top 20 in all six events, including a victory in the Edwin Watts Palmetto Intercollegiate. Millican fired a three round total of 217 (one-over par), which is second lowest 54-hole tournament total in the program's history.
Jessica Krasny set a school record last year with a six-under par total of 210 to win the UNCW Seahawk Invitational. She holds the record with four individual victories, the single season stroke average (75.4) last year, second in career stroke average (76.73), and is a two-time Connference USA Women's Golfer of the Month (March 03 & October 03). Krasny finished the fall with a 77.0 stroke average in six events and had four top 20 finishes.
Having senior leadership is important to any team's success and this year's team looks to two time Academic All American, senior Margaret Mitchell to provide this leadership.
"Margaret is a natural born leader," said Williams. "The special thing is she accepts that she is the leader of this team. Margaret's game has really grown so much in her career at ECU. She really became a force for this program in the spring of her sophomore year, and she has not let up yet. The greatest thing is her best golf is still ahead of her."
Mitchell's fifth place finish helped lead the Lady Pirates to victory this past fall in the Cardinal Cup. She finished in the top 20 twice and ended up the fall season with a 78.3 stroke average.
Three-time letterwinner Ashley Leonard and two-time letterwinner, Alyssa Hayes return for their senior year. Leonard's biggest highlight as a Pirate came last spring when she fired a five-under par, 67 in the first round of the prestigious Liz Murphey Intercollegiate. Leonard had one top 20 finish in the fall at the Louisville Cardinal Cup, and finished the fall with a 79.8 stroke average in five events.
"We expect some big things out of Ashley this spring," said Williams. "If she can play with the confidence and determination in tournaments like she does during qualifying, there is no telling how good our team can be."
A native of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Alyssa Hayes fired a final round even-par 72 in the Edwin Watts Palmetto Intercollegiate to help the Lady Pirates to a fourth place finish. Hayes finished the fall with a 78.7 stroke average in three events.
"Alyssa had played her best golf of her career in he fall," Williams said. "It was a shame that she got food poisoning and had to sit out the first two rounds of the Edwin Watts Palmetto event."
Sophomore Jamie Quinn wrapped up the fall scedule with the second lowest stroke average on the team, 76.3 in three events. Quinn claimed two top 20 placements, including a tie for 13th at the Edwin Watts Palmetto Intercollegiate. Currently she has the fourth lowest career stroke average at 78.0.
"I think Jamie can be a very successful collegiate player. She competes well in tournaments. When given the chance, she has produced on the course for us."
Third on the career stroke average at 77.9 is fellow sophomore Heidi Helliesen. One of the biggest reasons for the Lady Pirates success last year, Helliesen has struggled this fall to regain her form. She saw action in one event, the Lady Pirate Intercollegiate, where she posted a 54-hole score of 241, and finished the fall with a 80.3 average. Last year Helliesen earned C-USA All-Freshman Team honors after posting five top 20 finishes, and a 77.6 average.
Freshmen Jessica Hauser played in three tournaments, with two starts for Williams, recording a top 10 finish, posted an 80.7 average, and helped the team to the Cardinal Cup title.
"Jessica is a very steady player", Williams added. "But she struggled with her putter a little bit this fall. She is going to be an excellent collegiate golfer, and I am excited about her future at ECU." Fellow freshman Michelle Williams saw action as an individual in the Lady Pirate Fall Intercollegiate where she collected a 79.3 stroke average.
"Michelle, like Jessica struggled with her putting in the fall but I feel she has gotten it under control, and I expect you will see both these freshmen making a big time contribution to this program soon."
The Lady Pirates have five events on the schedule for spring season after playing in six during the fall. The spring schedule is highlighted by a return trip to the prestigious Liz Murphey Intercollegiate hosted by the University of Georgia.
The Lady Pirates open the spring for the first time in New Orleans playing in the Tulane Invitational, then return to action three weeks later for defense of their crown in the Pinehurst Challenge, co-hosted by College of Charleston and University of Virginia. The Pirates return to Tampa for the Waterlefe Invitational and this year's Conference USA Championship is hosted by Texas Christian University at the venerable Shady Oaks Country Club.
"I am very excited about the spring season and our chances for returning to the NCAA tournament," said Head Coach Kevin Williams. "It is our goal to get a bid, play well enough at regionals so we can be one of 24 teams at the NCAA Championships. It is a lofty goal, but one I feel we have the talent level to attain."