During the month of January, Golfweek will preview the spring season for each conference. Check out all of the previews here.
Today, we look at the Colonial Athletic Association:
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5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Top of the class: College of Charleston
• Player to watch: Laura Fuenfstueck, College of Charleston. The rookie kicked off her college career with a phenomenal fall, picking up three top-three finishes, including an individual win. She shot seven rounds of par or better in 13 tries and is ranked No. 70 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Women’s College rankings.
• Freshman to watch: Fuenfstueck: Who else but College of Charleston’s German sensation?
• Conference championship: April 19-21, St. James Plantation, Southport N.C.
• Past champions (since 2009): James Madison (2013), UNC-Wilmington (2011-12), Georgia State (2010), Georgia State (2009)
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(Golfweek/Sagarin rank in parentheses)
- College of Charleston (52): One year removed from being a member of the Southern Conference, College of Charleston will look to welcome itself to the CAA with a title. The Cougars impressed in the fall, nabbing two wins as a team and four top-5 finishes. The team is young, with nine underclassmen and two upperclassmen, but loaded. Five of the team’s top six players in terms of scoring average this fall were underclassmen, including freshman Laura Fuenfstueck, who could be the CAA’s top player.
- James Madison (107): The Dukes return all five contributors from last year’s CAA Championship team. The conference’s individual champion, Shabril Brewer, returns for her junior campaign, along with two other All-CAA first-team selections from a year ago. The team struggled against tough competition in the fall, claiming only one top-5 finish in five tournaments, but looks to repeat last year’s success in the spring.
- UNC-Wilmington (127): Much like its men’s team, UNC-Wilmington was not shy when it planned its fall schedule, setting up showdowns with some of the country’s best teams. The competition could help the Seahawks out down the line, but it hurt in the fall, as the team finished near the bottom of the pack in all four of its tournaments. UNC-Wilmington still boasts one of the conference’s top rosters, featuring four seniors.
- Delaware (136): Delaware won three of its six fall tournaments – the University of Delaware Invitational, the Rutgers Invitational and the Tiganelli Towswon Invitational. Freshman Grace Chua stepped up for the Blue Hens, leading the team in terms of scoring average (75.54), top-10 finishes (four) and best finish (second). Chua is one of three Delaware underclassmen to play in five tournaments this fall.
- William and Mary (138): William and Mary kicked off its fall season right, nabbing two top-three finishes, including a win at the Bucknell Invitational. The Tribe showed its depth at the Bucknell Invitational, with all five of its golfers finishing in the top 15. Sophomore Tina Chang posted a pair of top-5 individual finishes in the team’s first two fall tournaments.
- Richmond (167): Richmond its four top contributors from last year’s fourth-place finish at the CAA Championship. Senior Lauren Condor led the team in the fall, as it played to one top-5 finish. Condor posted a 74.75 scoring average and one top-10 individually in the fall.
- Towson (215): Towson pulled out two top-5 finishes in the fall and saw sophomore Larissa Spiess pull in an individual win at the Chesapeake Bay Invitational. Despite the solid finishes, no Towson golfers shot a round of par or better in five tournaments and only one player posted a sub-80 scoring average.
- Dayton (219): Dayton pulled out one top-5 finish in the fall – a third-place showing at its own tournament. Only two golfers finished the fall with sub-80 scoring averages for the veteran team. Six Flyers enter the fall as upperclassmen.
- Hofstra (246): Hofstra finished one place out of last at the 2013 CAA Championship, and its performance in the fall touted more of the same. The team, which features four freshmen on an eight-woman roster, finished near the bottom of the pack in all four of its fall events.
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Lance Ringler weighs in on the conference title race
After playing in the more competitive Southern Conference, College of Charleston will be the heavy favorite this spring when it competes in the Colonial for the first time. James Madison and UNCW will be looking to steal the AQ and could provide a challenge.