Women's golf team invades Stanford

By Curtis Acosta

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona women's golf team is set for another tournament with top competition. The team will travel to Palo Alto, Calif., this weekend for the Stanford Women's Intercollegiate Championship. Some of the teams headlining this tournament include top-ranked Arizona State and defending tournament champion and second-ranked San Jose State.

The Wildcats hope to rebound from a disappointing finish at their own tournament, the Arizona Invitational last weekend. The team remains confident after its ninth-place finish, and the Wildcats are hoping to capitalize on the experience they have gained from the tough competition in their first two tournaments of the season.

"It's another demanding field, another demanding golf course," said assistant coach Tom Brill.

Sophomore Brenna Cepelak has so far lead the team this season, finishing among the leaders in both tournaments this year. Anchoring the team along with Cepelak is senior Ulrika Johansson and freshman Heather Graff.

Graff has been a question mark for the team this spring. After an impressive collegiate debut that saw her lead the team at every tournament in the fall, Graff has finished third on the team in both tournaments this season. She has been working on her game, but expects her improvements to benefit her and the team in the long run.

"I have to make the adjustments sometime," Graff said. "If now is when it is then I'm going to be ready for Pac-10s, I'm going to be ready for regionals, and I'm going to be ready for nationals. And those are the three that count."

The Wildcats will invade Stanford this weekend with only one of their six players being a senior. The team is loaded with young talent and will continue to improve with more time on the course. Strong leadership and coaching might be the key to a successful run for the Wildcats.

Head coach Rick LaRose will accompany the team to Northern California. Course management is one of the major concerns for the Wildcats. Assistant coach Tom Brill expects LaRose's experience with Stanford's course to be an advantage for Arizona this weekend, especially with the course management.

"(LaRose) has been there a thousand times," Brill said. "He knows that golf course."

The coaching staff is hoping that the transition has been complete, and that the team is ready to play up to its potential. A large part of the transition has been building trust between the players and the coaching staff.

"I think we're getting comfortable with each other," Brill said. "If they can trust us, which I think we are building some trust, we'll improve dramatically. That's what coaching is all about, the bond between coach and player."

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