With a few fresh faces in tow, Eastern heads to Corvallis for Oregon State Invitational
With a strong mix of veterans and new young talent, the Eastern Washington University women’s golf team will kick off its 2012-13 season at the Oregon State Invitational in Corvallis, Ore. The two-day, 54-hole tournament begins Monday (Sept. 17) with a shotgun start at 9 a.m., and concludes Tuesday (Sept. 18).
Eastern will be one of 16 teams competing next week at Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis. The field includes three other Big Sky schools in Northern Arizona, Portland State and Weber State, as well as familiar opponents from the inland northwest, including Gonzaga, Idaho and Washington State.
This season, Eagle head coach Brenda Howe will enjoy one of her deepest rosters since taking over the reins of the program in 2009-10. In addition to four returning letterwinners, Howe has three talented freshmen in the mix this year.
“Having more players definitely helps with competitive drive,” said Howe. “With only five on the team last year, everyone got to travel to every tournament. But this year, nothing is guaranteed. Everyone will be fighting for a traveling spot.”
Howe welcomes back seniors Jayme Carbon and Morgan Lee, who had the two lowest averages on the team in 2011-12. Junior Sara Callagy also returns for the 2012-13 season, as does sophomore Caitilin Rice, who proved to be one the strongest members of the squad in the second half of the 2012 season.
Rice was the top finisher for EWU in three of its spring events, including the 2012 Big Sky Conference Championship, where she led the team with a three-round total of 228 (76-77-75).
“Caitilin is hitting the ball really well,” said Howe. “She matured a lot throughout her freshman year, and I expect her to be an impact player for us this season. She was our top qualifier for this tournament, so she will be playing in the No. 1 spot.”
On Monday and Tuesday at the Oregon State Invite, Carbon and Callagy will play in the No. 2 and 3 spots, respectively, while the four and five spots will be filled by a couple of new faces.
After signing their national letters of intent in the spring, freshmen Marissa Borja and Maddie Dodge are official members of the EWU women’s golf team and will suit up for their first collegiate tournament next week in Corvallis.
Howe also signed freshman Taylor Anderson out of Moscow, Idaho, but she will sit this first tournament out, as she nurses an early-season injury.
“We are really excited to have some fresh faces on the team,” said Howe. “All three of our freshmen are talented and each one brings something a little different to the squad.
“Last year, we really struggled to get four low scores," added Howe. "We always put up two or three good ones, but would get killed when we had to count an 86 or 87. We hope that with these new additions, our team will be stronger and more consistent across the board.”
Following the Oregon State Invite, the Eagles will have three more fall tournaments, all of which are familiar events for the red and white. On Sept. 24-25, the team will compete in the WSU Cougar Cup at Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman, Wash. Eastern then travels to Portland, Ore., for the Rose City Collegiate Oct. 1-2, before heading to Palm Desert, Calif., the following week for the Wyoming Cowgirl Desert Intercollegiate. All three of these are tournaments were on Eastern’s 2011-12 schedule as well.