By Hunter Dortenzo
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Following an impressive start to the 2017-18 season, the Maryland women’s golf team hopes to improve upon their successes and work toward a spot in the NCAA postseason.
The team returns to tournament play Feb. 11-13 at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic in San Juan, Puerto Rico, hosted by Purdue University. The 54-hole tournament at the Rio Mar Country Club will be the first event for Maryland since the Terrapins placed eighth in the Maryb S. Kauth Invitational in October.
Former Maryland golfer
“Puerto Rico always has a good field,” Head Coach Diana Cantu said. “We're excited to test what we’ve practiced and what we’ve got ready for over winter break. We've actually had pretty good weather, so we've been able to be outside a lot and prepare for the spring season.”
The team finished the 2017 fall season with four top-10 finishes in five events, including one team win at the Penn State Invitational in late September.
Maryland’s team win was the first team win since Oct. 9,
Cantu’s lineup consists of freshmen Charlotte Lafourcade, Virunpat Olankitkunchai and Laura Van Respaille, sophomore Xiaolin Tian, juniors Ludovica Farina and Ludovica Scandroglio, and senior Kavita Sehmi. The three freshmen, Lafourcade, Olankitkunchai and Van Respaille, make up the best freshman class in the country by their average scores.
“I think our freshmen came in and made an immediate impact on our team,” Cantu said. “They came in and supported our best players, which are Xiaolin Tian and Ludovica Farina. Their work ethic has been great. They like to practice a lot and they’re very talented. They’ve pushed our upper-classmen to be better as well.”
In addition to the team win at the Penn State Invitational, freshman Laura Van Respaille took the individual title at the same event. She was named the Big Ten Co-Golfer of the Week following her performance in just her third collegiate event.
“It was exciting to see a freshman win the tournament last semester,” Cantu said. “We haven't had that. The last time a player won individually, she was a senior.”
Though the idea of starting three freshmen might appear to be nerve-wracking to Cantu, she has been more than satisfied with the results they have accomplished.
“We definitely believe this is the strongest team we've had since we got here,” Cantu said. “So we know that if we play
The Terrapins will play in five regular-season tournaments before shooting for the Big Ten Championship in Maineville, Ohio, April 20-22 and NCAA postseason play starting May 7.
2018 Maryland Women’s Golf Spring Schedule
Feb. 11-13 Lady Puerto Rico Classic at San Juan, Puerto Rico
Feb. 19-20 Moon Golf Invitational at Melbourne, Fla.
March 5-7 Hurricane Invitational at Coral Gables, Fla.
March 19-20 Briar's Creek Invitational at Charleston, S.C.
April 14-15 Ohio State Lady Buckeye Event at Columbus, Ohio
April 20-22 Big Ten Championships at Maineville, Ohio