CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's golf team is going to Greenville, N.C., to compete in the NCAA East Regional the NCAA announced Monday afternoon. The Mocs are the automatic qualifier out of the Southern Conference due to their first SoCon title last week.
The regional is a 24-team field with eight teams advancing to the NCAA Championship at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C. Chattanooga, ranked No. 36 nationally, is looking to make a return trip to the finals.
"It will definitely be a challenge," said head coach Colette Murray. "We play a tough schedule every year to prepare us for this time of year so we know what we are up against."
Chattanooga is 15-21 against the East Regional field for 2009-10 including wins over top seed and No. 3 ranked Duke, No. 21 TCU and North Carolina. The Mocs finished eighth in the NCAA Central Regional in Columbus, Ohio last year in just the second year of the program. Junior Emma de Groot was an individual qualifier for the 2007 NCAA East Regional in the program's first year of competition.
de Groot and sophomore Maria Juliana Loza lead the team into the regional as All-SoCon performers in 2009-10. de Groot is ranked No. 34 nationally with five top 5 finishes on the season including a win at the SunTrust Gator Women's Golf Invitational earlier this month followed by her second-place finish at the SoCon Championship. She is averaging 73.0 shots per round over her last nine, 73.7 for the Spring semester.
Loza has been a stabilizing factor throughout the season. She combined with de Groot to shoot four-under par (Loza, -3) on the back nine to spearhead a comeback from five shots down to win the SoCon title. With two top 10s in the Spring as well as several top 100 individual victories, the sophomore from Colombia is playing her best golf at the right time.
Junior Christine Wolf is playing extremely well right now. She has three top 20s in the last four events with two top 10s. Wolf finished tied for sixth at the SoCon Championship and is averaging 74.7 strokes per round over the last two tourneys.
Senior Katie Taylor rounds out the travel squad for the Mocs. She was a starter on Murray's first team two years ago that won four times in 2007-08. She has returned to the lineup this Spring and is vital to the Mocs' chances to advance.
"We are very excited," added Murray. "After what we did a year ago qualifying for finals, we know what to expect."
The NCAA East Regional is May 6-8 at Ironwood Country Club in Greenville. The finals are May 18-21 at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C.
NCAA East Regional
May 6-8 - Greenville, N.C. - Ironwood Country Club
East Tennessee State
College of Charleston