PROVO, Utah – Fresh new faces and a fresh start welcome the women’s golf team as it embarks on a new season in a new conference.
After playing for over a decade in the Mountain West Conference, the Cougars will now focus on battling for a title in the West Coast Conference.
Not only are the Cougars embarking on a new conference, but they also are doing so with five new golfers as well. Freshman Laruen Atkinson, Silvia Correa, Gabby Gregory, Maria Yacaman and transfer Ashley Malaska hope to help the Cougars continue the strong play of last year.
During the 2010-11 season the women’s team played into an at-large bid at the NCAA regionals, the first time the team had done that since 2008. Unfortunately the Cougars fell just short, missing the NCAA tournament by 10 strokes.
Gone from that team are Jade Bollinger, Emily Copier and Kelsey Vines. Vines finished in the top-25 in eight tournaments, including a second-place finish at the MWC championships. Bollinger and Copier also helped to pace the Cougars, capturing seven top-20 finishes last season.
While the Cougars lost talent and leadership from last year, they do return senior Maggie Yuan and sophomores Annika Afoa and Amanda Keith. Yuan boasted a stroke average of 75.50 and has 13 top-20 finishes over her career, including five last year. The Cougars will look to her for leadership as they embark on the new season.
BYU starts the season today at the Raven Circling Collegiate Invitational. This bodes well for the Cougars who started off last season with a victory as the same tournament. Afoa placed particularly well, finishing 18th overall.