COLLEGE PARK, Md.---After making significant strides last season, the University of Maryland women’s golf team - full of international flavor - is looking for even bigger things when they open play Monday at the Ocean Course Invitational in Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
Head Coach Diana Cantu, who is set to start her fourth season here in College Park, is optimistic about what her team can achieve during this 2017-18 campaign.
“I truly believe this team is capable of reaching the NCAA postseason,” said Cantu. “We were very close last year and unfortunately our last two tournaments kind of got us away from it.”
Although this year’s team is young, with three freshmen on board, Cantu knows what she needs to instill in her player’s minds to reach postseason glory.
“It is really my job this year to make sure that they are confident enough,” said Cantu. “Our returners experienced how close we were [during the 2016-17 season] so I think they really want to make it happen this year.”
Cantu has a unique challenge in that her team this season is made up of players from all over the world. The program yields players from Italy, France, Thailand, China and the United Arab Emirates.
“We obviously recruit internationally a lot,” said Cantu. “We tell each other we are our family away from home.”
The two Italians on the squad have more in common than being from Italy; both have the same name, Ludovica.
“We are probably the only two Ludovicas in Italy playing golf,” said Farina.
Farina sees the diversity of her team as a bonus, something that other teams don't necessarily get to experience.
“We are definitely more unified; we respect each other since we are all international,” said Farina.
Cantu and assistant coach Kristen Simpson are the first to acknowledge how important it is for the team to click off the golf course in order to be successful.
“I think the biggest thing is taking a step back and respecting each others differences and cultures,” said Cantu. “So far it a really good group with many great personalities.”
After kicking off the season this week, the team will travel to nine other tournaments including the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate on September 18-19 in Knoxville, Tenn. and the Nittany Lion Invitational in State College, PA on September 23-24.