Women's countdown: No. 17 Virginia
We are counting down the top 30 women's teams heading into the fall college season.
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2012-13 Golfweek rank: 16
Go-to girl: Junior Briana Mao
Season outlook: The departure of four-year starter Brittany Altomare, the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year who was No. 8 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, is a huge loss to the Cavaliers, who finished last season with a disappointing 11th-place showing at the NCAA East Regional.
If Virginia is to improve on that performance, junior Briana Mao and seniors Elizabeth Brightwell and Portland Rosen must step up to help fill Altomare’s void in the line up. Mao had four top-10 finishes, including a victory at the UCF Challenge, was an All-ACC selection and was ranked No. 73 by Golfweek. Brightwell and Rosen combined for three top-10 finishes.
Even better, Virginia head coach Kim Lewellen has something of an ace up her sleeve: Freshman Lauren Diaz-Yi – who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship in June, was a quarterfinalist at the U.S. Women’s Amateur and is No. 11 in Golfweek's amateur rankings – is expected to step in and make an immediate impact. In addition, sophomore Lauren Coughlin captured her second consecutive Virginia Women’s Amateur title and should see more action for the Cavaliers after playing in only two events as a freshman.