SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Feb. 14, 2009) - The 2007-08 season was the most successful and memorable in ETSU women's golf history. The Buccaneers - under the guidance of 2007-08 Atlantic Sun Conference Coach of the Year Stefanie Shelton - captured the program's first-ever conference title and competed for the first time in the NCAA Championships.
The Bucs hope to continue to build on those successes as they begin their 2009 spring season Sunday at the Aztec Spring Invitational in San Diego. Coming off a successful fall campaign, the team enters the spring semester with a great deal of confidence and anticipation.
ETSU is coming off a 2007-08 season that saw the team garner its highest ever national ranking, rising to No. 42, and capture two team championships with overall victories in the South Alabama Lady Jaguar Invitational and the Atlantic Sun Conference championships. In all, since coming to ETSU in 2002-03, Shelton has led the Bucs to seven tournament team titles, which includes a first place showing in the Sea Trail Intercollegiate back in September of this season.
Led by a bevy of talented and experienced players, Shelton's squad has potential low scores throughout the lineup. However, no player in the program's existence has experienced so much success as quickly as junior Laura Jansone (Jurmala, Latvia). In her two seasons at ETSU, Jansone has made history, becoming the first woman to win an individual championship in golf during the 2006-07 season, and then rewriting the record books once more by posting a school record for single round score with a 67 in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Conference championships and then going on to earn medalist honors in that event - which was the first conference individual title for an ETSU player ever. Having led the team in stroke average (76.2) a year ago, the first-team All A-Sun selection struggled at times in the fall semester of this year and finished third on the team with a 76.7 stroke average, but that didn't stop her from picking up the third individual title of her career with a first place showing in the Sea Trail Intercollegiate.
Along with Jansone, the Bucs also return senior Lucy Gould (Bargoed, Wales), along with juniors Kennie Leigh Eisenhower (Newport) and Sinead O'Sullivan (Galway, Ireland). Meanwhile, joining the ranks are freshmen Mayte Vizcarrondo (Cadiz, Spain), Malin Mansson (Kalmar, Sweden) and Nina Muehl (Vienna, Austria).
Gould comes into the season having been a three-year contributor to the team and having posted five Top 10 finishes a year ago, including a tie for fifth in the A-Sun championships. She was a second-team All A-Sun pick as a sophomore and currently ranks fourth on the team in stroke average.
Meanwhile, O' Sullivan broke through in a big way last season, joining Jansone as the only other woman to ever capture an individual championship. She did so by winning the South Alabama Lady Jaguar Invitational, where she posted a personal best with a 69 in the final round. In the fall, she was one of two ETSU players to finish with a team-best stroke average of 76.5. Fellow junior Eisenhower played in all four events for the Bucs in the fall and showed improvement in her game, finishing fifth on the team in stroke average and posting her best finish with a tie for 35th at the UNCG-Starmount Classic.
As for the newcomers, Vizcarrondo made an immediate impact in the fall, finishing tied with O'Sullivan at 76.5 for the team's best stroke average. She posted two Top 5 finishes and enjoyed a season best third place showing in the Palmetto Intercollegiate. Mansson finished tied for 36th at the Sea Trail Intercollegiate to help the team to that victory. In the meantime, Muehl was a transfer pickup over the semester break and will play in her first events for ETSU this spring.
The Bucs will once again face an ever-more-challenging schedule again in the spring of 2009. The team will play in seven events this spring, including the always critical Atlantic Sun Conference Championships which are set to begin April 13.
For more on ETSU women's golf throughout the season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women's golf link.