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ND Women’s Golf: Irish lose All-American but remain strong

Greg Hadley | Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Coming off its fifth conference championship in its final year in the Big East, Notre Dame enters the fall season full of confidence and eager to prepare for its first campaign in the ACC.

Irish coach Susan Holt, entering her eighth year at the helm of the program, has four returning golfers, all of whom scored for the Irish last year, including Big East co-medalist sophomore Talia Campbell. With this core, Holt has high expectations, even as her team enters the highly competitive ACC.

“We’re going to do what we always try and do,” Holt said. “We want to win championships. That will always be our goal, no matter what.”

In preparation, the Irish have a challenging fall schedule that includes some of the top invitationals in the country, such as the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship from Sept. 20-22 at Knoxville, Tenn., and the Tar Heel Invitational from Oct. 11-13 at Chapel Hill, N.C.

“We want to get off to a good start and be competitive in every event,” Holt said. “The fields we’re going up against are very competitive with some teams in the top 25 so we want to position ourselves for spring, know where we stand and move forward.”

However, the Irish will have to move forward without All-American sophomore Lindsey Weaver, who transferred to Arizona after last season. Weaver, who shared the Big East individual title with Campbell, leaves a big hole in the Irish roster that will be filled by freshmen Janie Fineis and Jordan Ferreira, and junior Ashley Armstrong, who ended last season on a hot streak. Armstrong won two tournaments in a row before taking All-Big East honors at the conference championship.

Holt, though, is not as concerned about the overall impact of any one golfer as she is about the overall depth of her squad.

“In our sport … we need four scores out of five every day, and everyone steps up at different times,” Holt said. “Sometimes, someone just has an off day, so someone else steps up and fulfills that role [of leader] and allows us to be successful. You can’t lean on one player and we have very good depth.”

The Irish will rely on senior Kristina Nhim and junior Kelli Oride to provide that depth and veteran leadership for the younger golfers.

Beyond the fall, the Irish look to gain momentum to carry through the winter into the spring and, finally, into championship season. A big part of maintaining that momentum will be the Rolfs Family All-Season Varsity Golf Facility the team uses to train in bad weather.

“Recently, we enhanced the facilities and added a simulator which will be really helpful for us, and for the men’s team, as well,” Holt said. “I think it will only help us prepare better later in the fall and throughout the winter.”

Preparation will be key as the Irish enter the ACC, which ended last season with four teams ranked in the top 25 nationally.

The Irish start their fall schedule on Sept. 8 at the IU Fall Kickoff in Noblesville, Ind.

Contact Greg Hadley at ghadley@nd.edu