Women's Golf Prepares for Tampa
Women's Golf Prepares for Tampa
GREENVILLE, N.C. -- The East Carolina University women's golf team has completed its regular season competition and will be headed to the Conference USA Tournament in Tampa, Fla., next week. The three-round tournament will take place at the par-72, 6,105-yard Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club on April 21-23.
The 2002-03 season has been one of the most successful ever for the women's program which began just three short years ago. The women have competed in nine tournaments this season, and have placed in the top five in eight of those, including three first-place finishes.
"The women have had a great year," said ECU head coach Kevin Williams. "We have been in the top five in almost every tournament. We have been very consistent, and we have had good play in spots one through four and at times we have gotten good play out of the fifth spot. We have had a lot of depth this year which has helped us, and for a third-year program, it's good that we have that depth. We haven't had that before, and I think that's why we are in the position that we are in now."
Jessica Krasny and Adrienne Millican have been the standout players for the Pirates this season, combining for three individual titles, and 10 top-10 finishes.
Krasny won her first tournament of the season at the Edwin Watts Carolina's Classic, shooting a 223 in the three-round event. She then won the UNCW Lady Seahawk Invitational with a score of 210. Krasny has six top-10 finishes (including the two individual titles), and was named Conference USA Co-Golfer of the Month in April. She is averaging 75 strokes per round heading into the conference tournament.
Millican began the season with an individual win at the Unlimited Potential Baytree Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C., shooting a 218 in the three-round event. Since then, she has had three more top-10 finishes and is averaging 75.4 strokes per round.
In addition to Krasny and Millican, the East Carolina freshman have had an outstanding season. Heidi Helliesen and Jamie Quinn have each had two top-10 finishes of their own.
"Obviously, Jessica (Krasny) has played really well for us all season long," said Williams. "Adrienne Millican has played really well and has been consistent. But, I think the biggest difference for us this year has been the play of our freshman. Heidi Helliesen and Jamie Quinn have really stepped up and helped out this year, and then Margaret Mitchell's game has also really stepped up. So, we are getting a lot more consistency which is why we've been so successful this season."
East Carolina opened its season at the Unlimited Potential/Baytree Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C. finishing second of 35 teams. The next week, the Lady Pirates notched a third-place finish at the Wolverine Invitational hosted by the University of Michigan.
In October, the Lady Pirates placed fourth at the Nittany Lion Invitational. The women closed out the fall season with a win at their home tournament, the Lady Pirate Fall Intercollegiate with a score of 905.
The women earned their first-ever road championship in February to open up the spring season with a first-place finish at the Edwin Watts Carolina's Classic. ECU had set a goal of earning a road win and accomplished it early in the spring. The Lady Pirates won the Bradford Creek Intercollegiate the next week for back-to-back titles, shooting a 579 in the shortened two-round event.
At the Waterlefe Invitational, East Carolina placed in a tie for fifth of 14 teams with a score of 922, finishing 24 strokes off the leader TCU. It was the next week that Krasny won the individual title at the UNCW Lady Seahawk Invitational, but the Pirates would only finish in a tie for third.
The Lady Pirates closed out the regular season at the Liz Murphey Intercollegiate in Athens, Ga., where they finished in a tie for eighth, their only finish of the season that was not a top-five performance.
On the year, the women are 126-19-2, which is the best record in the history of this young program.
To round out the year, the women will travel to Tampa, Fla., to compete in the Conference USA Tournament, which will be no easy task.
"The tournament is going to be a shootout," said Williams. "Tulane is ranked 21st in the country, South Florida is 27, TCU is 29 and we are 31st, so the competition is going to be steep. I think when we were at the Liz Murphey, we proved that we are capable of beating top-25 teams. I think we have a decent shot of winning. Conference USA women's golf is competitive and has a lot of depth. So, we need a lot of momentum going into the tournament."
Should the women win the tournament, they will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, but even if they finish below the number one spot, the Lady Pirates have a good chance of getting an at large bid.
"Right now it looks like we should get an at-large bid to the NCAAs," said Williams, "but we would rather have the automatic bid that comes with winning the conference tournament. Tulane is tough and are clearly the best team in the conference, but South Florida, TCU, and East Carolina are not too far behind. We will have to play some of our best golf to win."