EAST LANSING, Mich. (Sept. 11, 2014) – Following a season in which the ETSU women’s golf team captured another conference title, earned a fourth trip to the NCAA regionals, sent an individual to the NCAA national championships, and set a program record for final national ranking, the Buccaneers will open their 2014-15 campaign with fresh faces and new challenges as they begin play Saturday in the Mary Fossum Invitational hosted by Michigan State at the Forest Akers Golf Course.
Fans wishing to follow the Bucs this weekend can do so by visiting BirdieFire.com and clicking on the Mary Fossum link. The team will open the two-day event Saturday with 36 holes of play, followed by 18 holes on Sunday.
“There is a tremendous amount of pride and energy in our women's golf program following such a great season last year,” said ETSU head coach Stefanie Shelton, whose team finished last season ranked No. 41 out of 260 teams in Division I play. “This year's team is determined to continue pushing our program forward without skipping a beat. It is a very coachable group with the competitive spirit to match.
“We have added a few new tournaments to our schedule this year – traveling to Tennessee, Furman and Florida State. We expect great competition that will challenge our ladies to grow and compete against strong teams. I know our ladies are excited for the challenge.”
To help meet those challenges, Shelton announced Thursday the additions of Allyson Dunn (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Abigail Evans (Gillingham, England) to the team’s roster. Dunn is a local product out of nearby Sullivan South High School, while Evans is the sister of former ETSU standout Sian Evans.
Dunn was a perfect 4.0 student at Sullivan South High School, earning all-conference honors four years in a row while capturing two individual conference championships and being named all-state three times. She helped power her team to a state title in 2013, and she finished fourth at the Tennessee Girls Junior Amateur in 2014 – firing the only sub-par score of the event with a 70 in the third round. She was also the low junior medalist in the 2013 Tennessee Women’s Amateur.
“Allyson is an exceptionally talented and driven young lady both on the golf course and in the classroom,” Shelton said. “I look forward to watching Ally learn how to use that talent and competitiveness on the golf course and be a top performer on a consistent basis. I expect she will be a large part of our program's success over the next four years.”
Meanwhile, Evans has enjoyed a successful amateur career in England, playing for her secondary school team for the past seven years. She also won the Faversham Ladies Matchplay Championship three times, and was a two-time Faversham Club Champion in 2011 and 2012. In 2013 she was part of the winning team in the England Southeast Regional championships.
“Abbie has unlimited potential as a golfer,” Shelton said. “I feel she is unaware of how good she can be and it will be exciting as a coach to see her blossom. She is very intelligent and picks up new skills quickly. On the golf course she has one of the greatest tools a golfer can have, a solid mental composure. Her simplistic approach coupled with her growing confidence in her game will allow Abbie to continue realizing that potential.”
Along with the two newcomers, the Bucs again return accomplished players from last year’s squad, including junior Vivienne Chin (Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Malaysia) and sophomore Linda Dobele (Ogre, Latvia). A year ago, Chin captured the individual title at the conference championships and was a first-team all-conference pick, while Dobele was an all-freshman team selection last season and posted the team’s second-best finish at the conference championships.
Other returning players for the Bucs include Dominika Czudkova (Cesky Tesin, Czech Republic) and Rachel Pollock (Guelph, Ontario).
For more on ETSU women’s golf throughout the 2014-15 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s golf link.