Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Walt Beazley)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - The fifth-ranked University of Arkansas women's golf team was selected to the NCAA East Regional it was announced by the NCAA Monday. NCAA Regional action begins May 9-11, 2013.
This year's selection is the 12th NCAA Regional appearance for the Razorback women's golf team and the 11th consecutive selection. Arkansas has finished in the top eight five times and advanced to the NCAA Championship including two consecutive appearances in 2011 and 2012.
The Razorbacks have made six central region appearances, four in the west and is making just the second appearance in the east in program history. The team's best finish came in 2001 at the central region where they finished fourth overall at Notre Dame.
"My goal as a coach is to create a solid foundation in golf and in academics," Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said. "We put a lot of time into recruiting to make sure that each young lady is ready to work hard in the classroom and on the golf course. I believe we have continued to assemble teams that value our philosophy and the players have done a great job in creating a good balance with both."
Second-ranked and defending Southeastern Conference championship Alabama headlines the field as the top seeded team at Auburn. Arkansas is the two seed and joins No. 8 UCLA, No. 11 North Carolina State, No. 12 Virginia, No. 18 Oklahoma State, No. 20 Tulane, No. 23 Texas and No. 26 Notre Dame. The rest of the field includes Northwestern, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas State, Auburn, Central Florida, Purdue, East Carolina, Florida International, Ole Miss, East Tennessee State, Tennessee-Chattanooga, James Madison, Eastern Kentucky and Alabama State.
"The approach is the exact same as any other tournament," Estes-Taylor said. "We work to improve every day that we train knowing that we are better today than we were when school started in August. We build our mental and physical games to be at our very best this time of year. Our past competitions and daily practices prepare us and are great learning tools for our future competitions.
"Our team motto this year has been 'commit to the journey'. We believe that Regionals is another stop along our journey and that we are prepared for anything that we will see."
Senior Victoria Vela will make her fourth consecutive NCAA Regional appearance with her best finish coming in 2010 when she tied for 38th overall. Juniors Emily Tubert and Emma Lavy have two regional appearances under their belts as well and Tubert tied for third in 2011, tying the best individual finish by a Razorback at an NCAA Regional.
"Our leadership is the life line of our team," Estes-Taylor said. "It really dictates our energy and in our sport it is very contagious. We have worked to make sure that we are all in a good place and ready to go. Our older players have done a great job of setting the tone for our younger team members."