Cal State Northridge women's golf gets the 2011-12 season underway on Monday, Sept. 12 as the Matadors travel to Couer d'Alene, Idaho to compete in the Circling Raven Collegiate Invitational.
The Circling Raven Invitational (Sept. 12-13), hosted by Gonzaga, is the first of four tournaments the Matadors will play in during the fall. The spring features five tournaments culminating with the Big West Championship where CSUN looks to improve on last season's sixth-place finish.
But first things first as the Matadors make a return trip to the Pacific Northwest where they finished fifth to open the 2010-11 season.
"I'm very excited about returning to Idaho for the Circling Raven event," said 11th-year head coach Bonnie Murphy. "I have four players that played their last year and with the addition to freshman Sharon Shin I'm hoping we can improve on last season's finish."
The 2011-12 Matadors will benefit from the leadership of eight upperclassmen including seniors Kylie Kimura (Covina, Calif.), Ellen Krausse (Bakersfield, Calif.), Lady Samson (Valencia, Calif.), Kendall Patten (Quartz Hill, Calif.) and Jennel Alexander (Gardena, Calif.). CSUN will also lean heavily on juniors Margo Dionisio (Whittier, Calif.) and Clariss Guce (Artesia) as the Matadors look to get off to a good start in 2011.
Kimura led Northridge in scoring as a junior posting a 77.2 stroke average in 11 tournaments. She also had the Matadors' lone individual win of the season after claiming the Cal Poly Firestone Grill Invitational last October. Kimura led the team with two top-10 finishes and three top-20 finishes.
"Kylie is a really solid player who is also mentally tough," said Murphy. "She really turns it on at tournament time. We're counting on her for big things this season."
Kruasse finished her first season at Northridge with a 79.1 stroke average after competing in eight of 11 tournaments in 2010-11. Krausse's best finish was a sixth-place showing at the Cal Poly Firestone Grill Invitational.
"Ellen is also mentally tough and is a smart player," said Murphy. "No one on this team ever gives up but Ellen is a real trooper and really grinds it out on the course."
Alexander, Patten and Samson each found their way into the lineup and various points during the 2010-11 season with Samson finishing a Matador-best 15th at the Folino Invitational in March.
"Jennel and Lady are both veterans with tournament experience who I hope will help us this season," said Murphy. "Kendall has come in very strong and has put up some really good scores the first couple of qualifiers."
Dionisio, who led the Matadors in scoring average (77.7) as a freshman in 2009-10, competed in 10 of 11 tournaments last season posting a 78.7 stroke average. She added one top-10 finish last season (seventh at the Circling Raven) to her career total of five.
"Margo worked extremely hard over the summer," said Murphy. "She is starting to see some really nice results from the hard work she put in."
Guce, who had off-season surgery, looks to build on a solid first two seasons where she has a 78.7 career stroke average and is averaging over 15 rounds per season.
"Clariss should be ready to take full swings in November," said Murphy. "We hope to have her back to full strength by the spring. As long as she keeps up with her rehab, which she has been doing a great job at, she should be ready. She's a real competitor and is really anxious to pick up a club and get out there."
Shin, who comes to Northridge from West Linn High School in Oregon, looks to be a solid scorer in the Matador lineup. Shin was the 2009 Oregon Junior Amateur champion and also qualified for the USGA Women's Pub Links Championship in 2009.
"Sharon has been playing great the first two weeks of practice," said Murphy. "All her scores have been in the 70's so far which is fantastic for a freshman coming out and playing courses for the first time."
The Matadors will look to capture their third straight Firestone Grill Intercollegiate title in early October (2-3) as CSUN, behind Kimura won their second straight tournament championship last fall. The Matadors then head to Palm Desert for the Wyoming Cowgirl Desert Intercollegiate (Oct. 8-9) before wrapping up the fall season at Cal Poly's Lamkin Grip Invitational (Nov. 7-8).
"We're going for a three-peat at Monarch Dunes," said Murphy. "And based on our qualifiers I think we should have a solid fall season. We've had quite a few par rounds during practice playing two really tough courses. If we can keep the ball in front of us and limit our mistakes, the double bogeys or worse, we'll be just fine."
- GO MATADORS -