Irish set to compete in invite
Eric Retter | Friday, October 15, 2004
The Irish return to action Sunday after a two week break, playing in the Lady Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
This event, hosted by the University of Arkansas, will run between Sunday and Tuesday. The Irish are hoping this break will not affect the momentum they have accumulated in recent weeks. The team is coming off of two straight wins against strong competition, dominating at both the Shootout at Legends and the Jeannine McHaney Invitational/Central Regional Preview.
Despite the potential drawbacks that come with a break from competition, head coach Debby King welcomed the break.
“I think it’s good in one respect, because it gives [the team] a chance to take a little breather and catch up on some school work,” she said. “It keeps you from getting burned out and keeps you hungry.”
The team will have to rely on that hunger for competition and good play to continue their streak, as they face another challenging field. The Irish will face three teams ranked ahead of them in the 18-team field – Michigan, Missouri and host Arkansas.
However, because of recent success, the team’s mindset going into events like this is beginning to change.
“I’m getting a different perspective as a coach,” King said. “Normally, I would be happy with a top-5 finish, but then you look at the teams ranked ahead of us and we’ve beaten them already. We think we can go in and win again.”
Leading the effort for a third straight victory will be junior co-captain Katie Brophy. Brophy has been a leader both on and off the course this year, and has performed exceptionally well in the last two weeks. After winning the Central Regional Preview, she finished the Shootout at Legends in an 8th place tie.
Joining her will be sophomore Noriko Nakazaki and senior Karen Lotta. Nakazaki has been a staple in the Irish lineup, and Lotta has performed well for the Irish when she has competed.
Rounding out the contingent will be junior Sarah Bassett and freshman Jane Lee. Lee has already made a considerable impact on the team in her rookie year, and Bassett is competing in her first event after a strong week of qualifying.
Over the break, the Irish spent lots of time on qualifying, in part to simulate competitive play. They have also worked extensively on the mental aspects of the game as a kind of insurance for the upcoming competition.
“We’ve been practicing with every club, and trying to get everyone to practice like the way they play,” King said.