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ND WOMEN’S GOLF: Irish look to extend streak

Kevin Brennan | Friday, April 8, 2005

Coming off two straight tournament victories, Notre Dame will look to continue its winning ways this weekend at the Lady Boilermaker Invitational.

The tournament, hosted by Purdue, will feature a very competitive field of 13 teams. Each team sends six golfers to the tournament. Each round, the team’s four lowest scores make up the team score.

The Irish will be led by junior co-captain Katie Brophy and sophomore Noriko Nakazaki. Brophy leads the Irish in scoring with a 75.92 stroke average for the year. Nakazaki is coming off her first-ever individual tournament victory at last weekend’s Indiana Invitational.

Senior Karen Lotta, freshman Jane Lee and freshman Alejandra Diaz-Calderon, who will be making her debut on the traveling squad, will round out the Irish lineup.

“We are really expecting big things from her,” Lotta said of Diaz-Calderon.

“She has been playing really well. We hope that this is her breakout tournament that she can be in the lineup regularly.”

Notre Dame needs a strong showing in the Lady Boilermaker to increase its chances of reaching a second straight NCAA Central Regional Championship. The Irish currently sit on the bubble, but an impressive performance this weekend could go a long way.

The field is filled with other Central Regional teams with whom the Irish are competing for a spot in the championship tournament. Five of the teams – Michigan, Kent State, Texas A&M, Purdue and Northwestern – are currently ranked higher than Notre Dame. The Irish realize how significant it would be if they managed to defeat some of these teams this weekend.

“There are a lot of Central Region teams there that we need to beat,” Lotta said. “We are really just going to try and finish as high as we can because every team we beat here is really important for our standings.”

The team should benefit from the confidence boost it has received after coming out on top in the past two tournaments. However, the Irish realize that as the highest ranked team in each tournament, they were supposed to win. The team acknowledges that improvements must be made for similar results to come this weekend against a much stronger field.

“We’ve been working a lot on our short game this week,” Lotta said.

“A lot of putting and chipping has been done. Everyone hit the ball well last weekend. We just didn’t score well.”

The Irish hope that this practice will lead to an impressive showing at the Lady Boilermaker Invitational. A berth in the Regional Championship might just depend on it.