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July 2, 2008

2008-2009 Season - Augustana women's golf squad set for strong campaign in 2008-09

Rock Island, Ill. – With the return of seniors Rachel Gahn (Edina HS, Edina, Minn.) and Heather Arizpe (Conant HS, Schaumburg, Ill.), the Vikings are poised for a great season in 2008-09.  “We should be better than last year,” said head coach Ron Standley, as he enters his 10th season at the helm for the Vikings.

Last season Augustana finished the fall with a fourth place finish at the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin championship meet, led by a third place individual finish by Gahn (156).  The Vikings also won the 14 team Augustana Fall Classic in record breaking fashion, setting a new school record for lowest round.  Gahn, Danielle Detelich, Arizpe, and Megan McNulty combined for a score of 323, breaking the old mark of 324 set the previous season on September 9 at the Monmouth Invitational by Gahn, Detelich, Abbi Johnson, and Arizpe.

Augustana added strong finishes at several other fall meets, placing second out of nine teams at the season opening Marion Iron Mustang Fall Invite, finishing third out of 18 teams at the Monmouth Invitational, and also 4th out of 18 teams at the Knox Invitational.

Gahn is the top returner this season, after averaging a team best 82.4 strokes per round last season and earning “Most Valuable Player” honors for the Vikings.  She won medalist honors at the Augustana Triangular, the Augustana Fall Classic, and the Hickory Point Open.  A selection to the CCIW Academic All-Conference team and an Academic All-District honoree as well, she finished her junior season with six top-five finishes and 10 times finished in the top 10 at meets.  Gahn had the lowest round on the team last season, firing a 75 at the Augustana Fall Classic, and is capable of being “one of the top players in the country,” said Standley.

Arizpe, also named to the CCIW Academic All-Conference squad, is another returning performer that should play a vital role in Augustana’s success this season.  “Heather is one of our key players this season,” said Standley.  She was third on the team with an 88.1 scoring average last season, compiling four top 10 finishes.  Arizpe tied for 14th place with a score of 169 at the CCIW championship meet last fall and earned “Most Inspirational Player” honors for the Vikings along with fellow senior Shasta Ketcham (Danville HS, Danville, Iowa).  She will serve as the team captain this season for the second straight year.

Junior Katherine Mascheri (Hersey HS, Mount Prospect, Ill.) and sophomore Jessica Berens (Schaumburg HS, Schaumburg, Ill.) “have both made significant improvements,” said Standley, and will be counted on to provide depth for the Vikings this season.  Berens, who was named “Most Valuable Freshman” a year ago, was fifth on the team last year with a 96.2 scoring average while Mascheri was sixth at 101.7 strokes per round.  Berens tied for 21st place the CCIW championship meet with a two day total of 176.  Mascheri finished 41st and shot a 199 and also shared the team honor for “Most Improved Player” last season along with Ketcham.

Standley is excited about his incoming freshmen class which boasts “two very strong players” in Brittany Carr (Lincoln Way East HS, Frankfort, Ill.) and Alexa Fontana (Freeport Aquin HS, Freeport, Ill.).  “I expect both of them to make an immediate impact,” said Standley of his two freshmen recruits.

The squad will tackle a difficult schedule facing several of the top teams in the region at the Wisconsin-Whitewater Invitational on September 13-14 as well as the Mt. Mercy Invitational to open the season on August 29.  The Vikings will host the Augustana Quadrangular on August 31 and the Augustana Fall Invitational on September 4.  It is the second straight season and second time in school history that the Vikings will host two events in the same season at the Emeis course in Davenport, Iowa.

Augustana will be shooting to win the CCIW and earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Division III national tournament, but Standley acknowledges that it will be a challenging task with Illinois Wesleyan, who finished 4th in the nation last season, heading a host of quality schools in the conference.  “Illinois Wesleyan is a strong team and the conference is one of the toughest in the country with great depth,” said Standley.

The Vikings will also aim to finish in the top 25 nationally and will travel to Florida for the first time in school history during the spring season.  “It should be a fun season with a good group of young women to work with,” said Standley.

Story written by Assistant Sports Information Director Adam Strand