Women's Golf Gunning For Third Straight NCAA Appearance

Feb. 9, 2010


By Leigh Torbin

The UCF women's golf team has made two-consecutive NCAA Regional appearances and, after a strong fall where the Knights had a pair of top-three finishes, a return trip is not out of the question as UCF heads into its first spring under new head coach Courtney Trimble.

Trimble, who came to UCF over the summer after a successful career at Auburn, brought in a seasoned assistant in Mary Bryan, the program's first director of operations in Charlotte Campbell, and immediately set to work on improving the Knights.

Helping the Knights along is their brand new practice facility, just minutes from campus at the Twin Rivers Golf Course in Oviedo. The team's home gives the Knights access to a private driving range, putting greens and short game area in addition to a pair of video swing analyzers for the UCF men's and women's teams.

"It's a really exciting time to be here," Trimble said. "The new facility is awesome. You can get better there, and that's what I'm so excited about. It's three miles from campus. You can go there anytime and it's just for the team. It's a perfect practice facility for college golf as far as the building itself and the practice areas, the chipping and putting greens, are excellent. You can get your short game incredibly good. We've seen the benefits already."

UCF brings back three players from the 2008-09 season, led by senior Victoria Tomko. The native Belgian had by far a career-best 76.89 stroke average this fall, down from 80.38 last year. Her fall was highlighted by a third-place finish at Kentucky's Bettie Lou Evans Fall Invitational, the first top-five placement of her career.

One of the top student-athletes that UCF has ever had, Katie Detlefsen is back for her junior year. Already into her second semester of master's degree work with a 4.0 cumulative GPA, her stroke average was just as impressive this past fall where her 76.67 was exactly two and a half strokes better than her 79.17 clip from 2008-09. Detlefsen fired the first two even par rounds of her career during the fall and her 218 (+2) showing at the FIU/Pat Bradley Invitational is tied for the fifth-best 54-hole performance in school history, matching LPGA professional Liz Earley's career-best mark while at UCF.

Elisa Aoki joined the Knights in time for the spring semester last year and an up-and-down freshman campaign. She finished her first fall strong though, ranking amongst UCF's top-three finishers in each of the final three events, topped by her fifth-place effort at the Bettie Lou Evans Fall Invitational. Aoki led the Knights with three top-20 finishes in the fall, including a pair of top-10 placements, and hopes to carry that momentum into the spring.

UCF has four freshmen from four different countries rounding out the lineup who could ultimately decide the postseason hopes of the team. Chilean National Team member Valentina Fontaine came to Orlando and made an instant impact. Her 211 (-5) at the FIU/Pat Bradley Invitational established a school record for a 54-hole event on a par-72 course. Her 69-71-71 string also earned her Conference USA's Women's Golfer of the Week award. Fontaine's 74.56 stroke average from the fall was two full strokes better than her closest teammate and she led the Knights with four par-or-better rounds.

German freshman Carolin Pinegger also played in all four fall events and recorded a solid 78.11 average in her first collegiate semester of action. Pinegger proved to be tough at the Hooters Collegiate Match Play Championship, recording a 1-1-1 record. Sammy Vass, a native of Scotland, played in three fall events as an individual to gain experience and showed improvement with her best event being the team's season finale at the FIU/Pat Bradley Invitational in Fort Myers. Pensacola's Sunny Harris rounds out the freshman, joining the Knights as a walk-on but not competing during the fall season.

The spring schedule will offer UCF both a glimpse at some of America's top teams and also some events where the Knights will be amongst the favorites. UCF will head to LSU, Georgia and Florida for events while also playing host to the annual UCF Challenge at the RedTail Golf Club in Sorrento. The C-USA Championship will be hosted by Southern Miss this year. Last spring UCF placed second in the event behind only Tulane, its best finish since joining the league in 2005-06.

With a good mix of veterans and freshmen and a new and energetic coaching staff, the Knights have ample cause for optimism heading into the spring with dreams of a third-straight NCAA Regional appearance in their collective heads. A good February, March and April can put the Knights just where they'd like to be come May.