MACOMB, Ill. - The Western Illinois women's golf team will enter the 2012-13 season with a deep roster under eighth-year head coach Lia Biehl Lukkarinen. The squad opens play this Saturday (September 8) at the Illinois State Redbird Classic. The tournament will be played Saturday and Sunday (September 9) in Normal, Ill.
LAST SEASON: The young team finished sixth or better in six tournaments, highlighted by a third-place finish in the Western Illinois Autumn Invitational. The Purple & Gold closed out the 2011-12 season finishing sixth at The Summit League Tournament in Primm, Nev.
AT THE HELM: Head
Coach Lia Biehl Lukkarinen enters her eighth season as head coach for the
women's golf program. In her time at Western, Lukkarinen has had a great deal
of success, most recently a second place finish for the Fighting Leathernecks
in The Summit League in 2010-11.
ASSISTANT COACH: Assisting head coach Lia Biehl Lukkarinen for the second year will be Lindsay Wandrey. A four-year member of the women's golf team from 2007-2011, Wandrey was a part of the 2011 team that had the best finish in Western Illinois women's golf history.
THE TEAM: The Leathernecks enter the season with three seniors, one junior, three sophomores and three freshmen, a total of 10 golfers on the team.
SENIORS: This year's squad will look for leadership both on and off the course from seniors Alexa Arent, Emily Brink and Kelsea Visalli. Arent tied for the team lead in total rounds with 31 and was third on the team with an 82.6 stroke average. Emily Brink redshirted last season and will have one year of eligibility left. Kelsea Visalli played in four total rounds in 2011-12 and carried an 86.5 average.
JUNIOR: Kristi Tschudin enters the season as the only junior on the roster. Last season Tschudin led the team with a 79.1 stroke average in 31 rounds of play.
SOPHOMORES: Abby Ball, Ashley Jeffers and Jessica Knepp. As freshmen in 2011, all three players played significant rounds for the Purple & Gold. Ball finished the season playing in 14 rounds with an 88.8 stroke average. Jeffers and Knepp both finshed the year playing in 31 rounds, respectively. Jeffers finished second on the team with an 81.2 average while Knepp finished the season with an 82.7 stroke average.
THE FALL SCHEDULE: Western begins its 2012 campaign with the Illinois State Redbird Invitational, starting on September 8 in Normal, Ill.
The Leathernecks will continue action on September 22 as they travel to Muncie, Indiana for the Ball State Cardinals Classic. Last season Kristi Tschudin and Ashley Jeffers both finished tied for seventh, respectively, at the Cardinals Classic.
The lone home tournament for the Purple & Gold will be the annual WIU Autumn Invitational, which will be held October 14-15 at the Legendary Harry Mussatto Golf Course in Macomb.
Following the WIU Autumn Invite, the squad will travel to Sarasota, Florida for the FIU Pat Bradley Invitational. The Pat Bradley Invite will wrap up the 2012 fall season for the Leathernecks and will start on October 21.