As the 2018 spring schedule approaches, the No. 4 Razorback women’s golf team is looking to win a national championship and pick up where they left off last semester.
“I think our team is the best in the country,” senior Jordy LaBarbera said.
Last fall, the program won three out of four tournaments it played: The Mason Rudolph Championship on Sept. 15-17, the ANNIKA Intercollegiate on Oct. 1-3 and the Maryb S. Kauth Alamo Invitational on Oct. 22-24.
Several aspects work in favor for the Hogs, the first being leadership.
The hopes are high for the Hogs. Junior All-American Maria Fassi said she is ready to compete and help her team achieve the successful season it had in the fall.similar to last semester,” Fassi said. “We know what we are capable of, so we just want to have the opportunity to win every time we play. They key last semester was focusing on us and our process, so our goal this year is the same.”
Fassi had a successful fall season herself. She won the aforementioned Mason Rudolph Invitational and the ANNIKA Invitational.
Individually, Fassi finished No. 5 in the nation, according to GolfStat.
Fassi said she isn’t too worried about the pressure that stems from her past success.
“I don’t love expectations, personally, but I know how much I’ve worked over the break and these first weeks here, so I’m confident that this is going to be a season to remember,” Fassi said.
Cara Gorlei, a junior from Cape Town, South Africa, believes leadership roles within the team arise from different people during demanding times, she said.
“Leadership pops up in different aspects in the team,” Gorlei said. “Some teammates pull through at different times, yet I have always found Maria Fassi to be a great leader just by watching her play the game and by the way she goes about life.”
Gorlei said senior Jordy LaBarbera also guides the team.
“(LaBarbera) shows a great amount of senior leadership in the manner she goes about things,” Gorlei said. “She is very mature in how she handles herself, and if anything needs to be sorted out or we need someone to stand up, she knows her place and will do it for the team.”
The other side of this successful team is experience.
The team consists of three freshmen and seven upperclassmen. Gorlei said the knowledge the juniors and seniors have from competing in such a difficult league is a part of their success.
“Having upperclassman not only do we know what to expect, but we know how to handle any situation with all the experience we have,” Gorlei said. “Golf has a lot to do with experience and how you can handle yourself, so that creates a big advantage for us as we have matured over the years by being a Razorback.”
Gorlei said she believes the energy the team displays is a key factor.
“This team dynamic is one of the best I have ever been on,” LaBarbera said. “I think it is because we have so many upperclassmen that are willing to teach and help each other as well as the underclassmen, but I will also say that even though we are all at different ages, we all have a certain sort of respect for everyone on our team, whether they are a senior or freshman.”
LaBarbera, one of two seniors on the team, reflects on her experience as a Razorback and looks forward to end her last season strong, she said.
“I feel a little bit of nostalgia because this experience as a Razorback athlete is almost coming to a close,” LaBarbera said. “I am very happy to be spending my senior year with some of the absolute best teammates I have ever been around.”
The Hogs’ first spring tournament is the Lady Puerto Rico Classic in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Feb. 11 to Feb. 13.