Feb. 6, 2013
Written by: Mike Swartz, Ole Miss Athletics Intern
OXFORD, Miss. – After a productive fall by the Ole Miss women’s golf team, the Rebels prepare for the spring tournaments, with four regular-season contests, as well as the SEC Championships in Birmingham, Ala., and NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga.
After a solid fall, highlighted by the Tar Heel Invitational in which the Rebels tied for second place, head coach Michele Drinkard is proud of the energy that her team had in the first half of the season.
“This team has different characteristics than my past teams in that I can see in their eyes that they really want it,” said Drinkard, who is in her fifth season with Ole Miss. “They have more energy this spring than I’ve ever seen. It feels like the first day of fall. As a coach, it’s all I can ask for.”
The women’s team opens up the spring at the UCF Challenge February 10-12, in Orlando, Fla., and are looking to start off tough.
“They are hustling in workouts,” Drinkard said. “They are really going strong so I really look for us to come out of the gates pretty strong.”
Led in the fall by seniors Haley Sanders and Ericka Schneider, who both led the team with stroke averages of 74.20, the Rebels will look to build on the development of their team to win tournaments.
“Everybody has stepped up,” Drinkard said. “Our seniors are the best leaders we’ve ever had. Ericka wants to play professionally and you can see it, she is really working hard and her game has improved so much.”
The Rebels also look forward to the development of their freshmen, including Katy, Texas native Abby Newton.
“Abby has the mindset that she wants to be the lowest scorer on the team, they all do,” Drinkard said. “What a nice problem to have.”
Also in the mix of young Rebel talent is redshirt freshman Alison Hovatter and sophomore Taelor Rubin.
“Alison really stepped up in the fall and she has improved this spring,” Drinkard said. “Taelor had a good fall and also improved this spring.”
What the Rebels may be looking most forward to this spring, is their home tournament, the M&F Bank Rebel Intercollegiate April 5-7 at the Ole Miss Golf Course. While Drinkard is excited for her team to play at home, she likes to keep her team concentrated on the process of the tournament and not focus on the results or any other distractions.
“First and foremost we treat every day as a new day,” Drinkard said. “We are very focused on the process and not the result and that is where we’ve gotten off in the past.”
With a competitive group, the Ole Miss women’s golf team looks to have a good finish in the SEC Championships this season and build upon the success of Ole Miss athletics, while increasing the already great Rebel athletics fan base.
“SECs are going to be in Birmingham for the next four years so hopefully we’ll have a good Ole Miss fan base. We need Rebel Nation to show up and support us in our tournament,” Drinkard said. “We had Lock the Legion, we need to have Lock the Links. I think we’ll have a great turnout.”