ETSU women's golf team prepares to open spring season Monday
Ashley Barton is the top returning player on the Lady Bucs roster.
Ashley Barton is the top returning player on the Lady Bucs roster.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

            JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 18, 2005) - The East Tennessee State University women's golf team will open their 2005 spring season next week at the Puerto Rico Classic in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The three-day event will begin on Monday, Feb. 21 and will pit the Bucs against some of the best teams in the country.

 

With a breakthrough season behind them and another encouraging fall campaign in the books, the East Tennessee State University Lady Bucs golf team appears destined for more great things this upcoming 2005 spring season.

 

Having won their first tournament at the 2004 Lady Terrier Intercollegiate last March in Spartanburg, S.C., the Lady Bucs proved that title was not a fluke by capturing top team honors once more at the Gamecock Classic hosted by Jacksonville State University (Ala.) last October.

 

Because of those two team victories in less than eight months, the return of four players from the 2003-04 squad, and a strong recruiting class, third-year head coach Stefanie Reynolds understands expectations will be high for her team this spring.

 

"I think our players are excited about the possibilities," said Reynolds, whose team set 10 team scoring records last year. "We  are breaking new ground with this team all the time and that's been encouraging for everyone involved with the program. But we know there are still a lot of goals out there."

 

This year, the Lady Bucs will have a solid mix of veteran players and talented youngsters. Leading the way will be junior Ashley Barton (Seffner, Fla.), who has taken her place as one of the most talented and successful players in ETSU history. Barton finished the fall campaign as the team's leader in stroke average (74.55), which also included a first-place tie at the Jacksonville State Gamecock Classic.

 

Along with Barton, the Lady Bucs will count on solid play from senior and captain Danielle O'Reilly (Whistler, British Columbia), junior Kailey Brooks (Bracebridge, Ontario), and junior Laura Diaz (Aguadilla, Puerto Rico). O'Reilly enjoyed her best season in the fall of 2004, consistently performing in every tournament. Meanwhile, Diaz qualified for the World Amateur Championships and competed for Puerto Rico at the event.

 

As for the new faces for the Bucs, Reynolds has been exceptionally pleased with the additions of Maria Ringdahl (Oland, Sweden), Natalia Giraldo (Cali Colombia) and Cindy Phillips (Johnson City, Tenn.). Ringdahl, who was a very successful Swedish amateur and highly sought recruit, finished the fall with the second best stroke average on the team (75.2), two top-10 finishes, and a third-place showing. Meanwhile, Giraldo was third on the team with a stroke average of 75.67 and also enjoyed three Top 10s, including a fifth-place finish in the Jacksonville State Lady Gamecock Classic.

 

The Lady Bucs will also take a step up when it comes to the schedule this year. ETSU will open the spring slate at one of the most demanding early season tournaments in college golf ­-the Lady Puerto Rico Classic in San Juan from Feb. 21-23, which will feature seven of the Top 25 teams in the country, including Southern Cal, Wake Forest, TCU and Texas. From there, the team will defend its championship in the Lady Terrier Intercollegiate March 5-6, and will then return to South Carolina for the Lady Gamecock Classic from March 11-13 in Columbia, S.C., which is another top event that features teams such as North Carolina, South Carolina and Wake Forest. The Lady Seahawk Classic in Wallace, N.C., from April 4-5 will mark the end of regular season play for the Lady Bucs, and then it is on to the Southern Conference Championships in Greenville, S.C., which in hosted by No. 17 Furman April 22-23. If the Lady Bucs can win the conference title, a trip to the NCAA East Regional in Gainesville, Fla., would await.

 

"That's our ultimate goal this season - win the conference tournament," Reynolds said.

 

            For more information on the Bucs throughout the season, keep informed by visiting ETSUBucs.com or by contacting the ETSU Athletic Media Relations office at 423.439.4220.

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