ETSU women's golf to open spring slate Sunday
Saturday, February 23, 2008

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (Feb. 23, 2008) -- Having earned the program's highest ever national ranking this past fall, and coming off back-to-back second place finishes in the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships over the past two seasons, the ETSU women's golf team enters the 2008 spring season determined to take the next step.


The Bucs enter begin their spring campaign Sunday in first round play at the Cuthbert Cup in Kiawah Island, S.C. ETSU is coming off a fall season in which the team four Top 6 finishes in five events.


Coach Stefanie Reynolds, the 2007 A-Sun Coach of the Year, enters her sixth year at the helm for the Buccaneers, and has guided the program to 38 Top 10 finishes in 44 events during her time at ETSU, including 29 Top 5 showings and four tournament victories. One of those victories came during the 2006-07 campaign at the Draper Valley Invitational, while the team also posted three second place showings in their final four events of the 2007 spring season.


Most encouraging for the Bucs is that the main five contributors to the team's success a year ago are returning this season, including seniors Maria Ringdahl (Farjestaden, Sweden) and Natalia Giraldo (Cali, Colombia), junior Lucy Gould (Bargoed, Wales), and  sophomores Laura Jansone (Jurmala, Latvia) and Sinead O'Sullivan (Galway, Ireland).


Jansone, the 2007 Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year and a first team league selection, has been the most consistent and successful contributor to the team's efforts over the last two years, becoming the first woman to win an outright tournament title in program history with a victory in the 2006 Lady Pirate Invitational. While she finished second on the team in stroke average this past fall at 76.6, her 75.5 average led the team last season. In all, she has enjoyed eight Top 10 finishes in collegiate play.


Meanwhile, both Ringdahl and Giraldo have four years of playing experience under the belts, with Ringdahl posting the team's best stroke average in the fall at 76.5 and garnering three Top 20 finishes, including a tie for seventh in the Edwin Watts/Palmetto Intercollegiate. A year ago, Ringdahl finished fourth on the team with a 77.5 stroke average and enjoyed three Top 13 finishes. As for Giraldo, she ended the fall season third on the team with a 76.7 stroke average and placed in the Top 14 twice. A second-team All A-Sun pick a year ago, she enjoyed five Top 17 finishes and was third on the team with a stroke average of 77.2.


As the lone junior on the team, Lucy Gould (Bargoed, Wales) earned second team all league honors a year ago and finished fifth on the team in stroke average both last year and last fall. She made her biggest impact so far this season with a sixth place showing during the fall's Aztec Fall Classic. A year ago, she nearly won her first college event, placing second at the Chrysler Challenge.


O'Sullivan, meanwhile, finished last season as an Atlantic Sun All-Freshman Team selection, finishing just behind Jansone for second on the team with a 76.8 stroke average. She had three finishes of 16th or better a year ago, and in the fall of 2007 she enjoyed her best individual showing ever with a seventh place finish in the Aztec Fall Classic.


Joining O'Sullivan and Jansone as the final sophomore on the team is local product Kennie Leigh Eisenhower, who played her high school golf at Cocke County High in nearby Newport, Tenn. Eisenhower's play has improved steadily since coming to ETSU a year ago, as she played in three events as a freshman, posing a low round of 75.


The Bucs will open their spring season 24-26 in the Cuthbert Cup at Kiawah Island, S.C., and the team will play five events leading up to the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships, which ETSU will host April 14-16 at The Ridges Golf and Country Club in Jonesborough, Tenn.