COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Maryland women’s golf coach Diana Cantu will be heading back to her alma mater this weekend when the Terps compete in the Mercedes Benz Intercollegiate hosted by the University of Tennessee. Umterps.com caught up with the second-year head coach to talk about the 2015-16 season.
Umterps.com: What are you expecting heading into your second season in the Big Ten Conference?
Cantu: The players are ready for their second season in the Big Ten Conference. We had a good Big Ten Conference Championship appearance last year which made them realize we can definitely compete with those schools. We are excited to get the season started and build up on how we ended up last year.
Umterps.com: It’s been one year since you’ve arrived at Maryland. How do you like it thus far?
Cantu: I really like the family environment of this athletic department. Every sport is supportive of one another and we want everyone to succeed. I'm excited about our players. They really put a lot of work into their golf games this summer and came back determined to have a great season. As a coach, I love seeing our players dedicate time to their golf and mental games with passion and excitement. That is what I'm most excited about this year. Our players look like they are really enjoying the game.
Umterps.com: How about this year’s freshman class?
Cantu: We have two freshmen this year. Both of them are from Italy and both of them, ironically, have the same first name! Ludovica Farina (Lulu) has a lot of tournament experience and has competed in a team-like environment for many years as she has been a part of the Italian National Team since she was 13 years old. She reminds me of our former player Juliet Vongphoumy - consistent and mature on the golf course. She will be great for us this year. Ludovica Scandroglio (Ludina) is our other incoming freshman. Her length off the tee and her athleticism will take her a long way. I'm looking forward to mentoring her and watching her growth on the course. Both freshmen have great personalities and have already meshed well with the rest of the team.
Umterps.com: Juliet Vongphoumy was a great player, how do you plan on filling the void she left?
Cantu: Losing Juliet is tough, but I know that our upperclassmen will step up and will do a great job for us. Heidi Baek and Panitta Yusabai came back from the summer ready to compete. Heidi has the ability to step up, lead the team, and help us achieve great things. Panitta's golf game is coming around very nicely. She worked long hours with our volunteer coach this summer and has produced numerous low scores lately. I'm excited to see how well she does this year.
Umterps.com: What can Terp fans expect from this year’s team?
Cantu: I think that there is room for a lot of players to step up and play well this year. We have a larger roster with talented players so there will be lots of competition to make the lineup week in and week out.