Junior Hailey Koschmann led the Illini in stroke average, with a 75.36 mark during the fall season.
Dec. 13, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois women's golf team continued to gain valuable experience and make improvements throughout the 2010 fall season in their pursuit to qualify for the NCAA Regionals in May. Head coach Renee Slone had a consistent line-up throughout the fall season, relying on the core group of juniors Hailey Koschmann, Samantha Sloan, and Nora Lucas, along with freshman Ember Schuldt, who all traveled to every tournament in the fall. The Illini also got contributions from senior Raquel Hopton, and juniors Katelin Dilger and Maureen Liddy.
"We experienced some success at every tournament along the way," Slone said. "I think the consistency really is the main focus right now, putting together those three solid rounds and getting ourselves off to a little better start. Just getting out of the gate a little bit quicker and figuring out what we need to do a little differently will be a couple of things we'll be looking at over winter break as well as mix some things up come January when practice resumes. Obviously, we've proven that we can get it done in rounds throughout the course of the season, and now we need to figure how do we do that for three straight rounds."
Illinois started the season off in Fort Collins, Colo., where they competed in the Ptarmigan Ram Fall Classic and finished the tournament in 10th at 27-over par after carding a 54-hole total of 891, which ranks as the second-lowest 54-hole total in school history. The Illini recorded a 285 in the second round of the tournament, which ranks as the program's lowest team single round in school history. Koschmann led the way for the Illini, firing a three-round total of 219 and finishing in a tie for 20th at three-over par.
The Illini next traveled to South Bend, Ind., to take part in the Warren K William Irish Invitational. The Illini shot their lowest round of the tournament in the third round, vaulting them to fourth place in the 13-team event. The Orange and Blue had three players in the top 25, with Koschmann and Lucas finishing in a tie for 13th at 14-over par and Sloan coming in 21st at 17-over par.
The Lady Northern Invitational, commonly referred to as the Big Ten Preview because it's the location of the Big Ten Championship in the spring, was held at the Lake Shore Country Club in Glencoe, Ill., and the home course of Koschmann. The Illini finished ninth, with Sloan having a career tournament finishing in a tie for 15th at five-over par. She carded a three-under par 69 in her final round en route to setting a career low in a single round and 54-hole tournament. Sloan's round of 69 included seven birdies and tied for the low round of the day.
Illinois had its best team finish in the fall, bringing home their first title of 2010-11 season at the Memphis Women's Invitational in Germantown, Tenn. Illinois won the tournament after the third and final round was cancelled due to inclement weather. Illinois began the tournament in fourth place after a first round 314, but responded in the second round to move into first after carding a 301, the lowest round of the tournament. Illinois' score is the fourth-lowest 36-hole tournament in program history. Schuldt led the way for the Illini individually after rounds of 79-74, to finish in a tie for seventh. Sloan and Koschmann finished a stroke behind Schuldt to finish tied for 12th.
"From the experience standpoint, it was a huge benefit for Ember to have travelled to every tournament," Slone said of Schuldt. "She understands the system and how things run on the road, what to expect, and then played some great golf too."
The Orange and Blue finished off their fall season with a trip to Austin, Texas, for the Challenge at Onion Creek. Illinois recorded a 54-hole total of 890 to place third out of 15 teams at the tournament and was led individually by Dilger (221), with a final round 76, and Schuldt (221), with a third round 83. Both finished in a tie for 11th at 11-over par. Dilger's 221 was her career low 54-hole total and it is also the best finish she has had as an Illini. As a team, the Illini posted a second round one-over par 281, coming up just four strokes off from besting their record low single team round in school history they had earlier posted at the Ptarmigan Ram Fall Classic.
"From a golf standpoint, we've talked with each player individually, regarding what they need to do, what areas they're working on," Slone said of the team's plans during the off-season. "We've come up with an improvement plan, including a couple of key items that each player can really focus their time and energy on during the off-season, so that they can improve on an individual level, which will obviously help the team as a whole."