We are counting down the top 30 women’s teams heading into the fall college season.
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No. 1: USC
2012-13 Golfweek rank: 1
Go-to girl: Sophomore Annie Park
Season outlook: The Trojans’ biggest problems this season might be managing the lofty expectations that inevitably come from winning a national championship. Last spring’s 12-shot victory at the NCAA Championship put the obvious target on USC’s back, but the team can’t come back this season – even though all five starters return – feeling untouchable.
In addition to returning NCAA champion Annie Park, who swept the postseason in her first semester as a collegian, USC’s roster includes three U.S. Golf Association champions (junior Doris Chen, sophomore Kyung Kim and incoming freshman Gabriella Then) plus senior Sophia Popov, the 2010 European Ladies Amateur champion. Head coach Andrea Gaston also returns senior Rachel Morris and adds another top freshman in Karen Chung, which makes USC’s bench deeper than in recent years. With last season’s short roster, the Trojans didn’t have an intense competition for lineup spots. It’s something that could take them to an even higher level.
Says Gaston: “It’s important to try to help fuel the fire again.”
– Julie Williams