Seahawks “chipping” away at the competition

McLeod Brown | Sports Editor

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The UNC Wilmington women’s golf team has long been a powerhouse in the Colonial Athletic Association, winning the conference title four of the past six years. The Seahawks have also produced numerous All-CAA players, further establishing themselves as a premier program in the conference.

Now they’re ready to take the next leap to greatness.

Midway through their fall season, the Seahawks have high expectations for themselves. Being two-time defending conference champions, they are prepared to push themselves further into the national scene, with hopes of moving the past the NCAA regionals and into the national championship picture.

“I think overall, we’ve had some wonderful, excellent individual performances by some of our players,” said head coach Cindy Ho. “They’ve been in the top 15, they’ve contended to win tournaments. That’s what you always need to do. Three of them are ranked in the top seven of the conference right now. I’m very pleased where they are. Overall, from our team performance, we’re looking to have a solid team finish. We just haven’t had that yet.”

The Seahawks have already completed four of their five fall tournaments, their most recent being the ECU Lady Pirate in Greenville where they finished 2ndout of 20 teams.

The tournament was a success for the squad in that the high finish gives them momentum going into their final fall tournament, while proving that the Seahawks have a strong foundation for the future.

Both, junior Lori Beth Adams and freshman Johanna Bjoerk were named to the all-tournament team, giving the Seahawks hope for the future.

Adams along with fellow junior Laverry Kumar will be looked at to provide leadership on this year’s team.

“They all know the most important thing is how to get the ball in the hole,” Ho said. “Their games are well-rounded and they know how to compete. Those three have to lead. If we can get them once in a while under par, that’s going to help our team scores. Each one of them has the ability to shoot in the 60s. They can finish a round.”

The highly-touted freshman Bjoerk will also be looked at to provide a presence on this year’s team. The Sweden native has played numerous international matches, including this summer when she finished tied for first after shooting a career low 66 in the first round of the European Amateur Championships.

“She’s long, she’s accurate, and overall her game is strong from her putting to her short game,” Ho said. “She has the whole package, especially because of her length. Because she has experience with the Swedish national team, she has a system. She’s not like a typical freshman; she’s an impact player right away for any team.”

The Seahawks schedule is a difficult one, with the opponents compiled as a means of preparing the squad to take the next step in their progression. The team has already faced the top two teams in the country in Washington and Arizona, respectively and also has the likes of No. 4 Duke on the schedule, still.

“They’re faced against the highest level of competition in the country,” Ho said. “That can help in two ways: That can make you better because you know what you have to work on to be at that level. It can also be where you don’t ever see yourself ever being able to beat them. It works two ways. If you’re always last and never beating them, how does that breed confidence? It’s a two way street.”

As the team continues on with their season, Coach Ho believes they are not far off from taking that next leap of success.

“We’re a player off,” Ho said. “We’re one score away from getting to the national championship and it’s my job to find a way to get that score. We have to do a better job of managing our games, managing our emotions. There’s a huge opportunity for one of them to step up to the plate. I have to find a way to where they feel comfortable about their performance.”