Defending NCAA Champions Kick Off 08-09 Season

Sept. 5, 2008

The USC women's golf team, the defending NCAA champion and ranked No. 1 in the 2008-09 Golfworld Preseason Poll, opens the fall slate of action with the 2008 Fall Preview at the Caves Valley G.C. in Owings Mills, Md., Sunday and Monday (Sept. 7-8).

The event features most of the top programs in the country as they get a chance to play the course which will serve as host for the 2009 NCAA Championships (May 19-22).

The 15-team field set to play the 6,270-yard, par 72 course includes host Georgetown, Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Denver, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma State, Purdue, USC, Texas A&M, Virginia and Wake Forest.

Duke won the Fall Preview last year while former Trojan senior Dewi Claire Schreefel claimed the individual title at the University of New Mexico G.C. in Albuquerque, N.M.

Results for the Fall Preview can be found at

The Women of Troy, who have finished among the top five teams at the NCAA championships in four of the past six years, including titles in 2003 and 2008, feature three returning All-Americans in the lineup.

Junior Belen Mozo headlines the group. She is a two-time All-American, a first teamer in 2008 and an honorable mention selection in 2007. She led USC's NCAA Championships charge last season, finishing fourth individually. It was her seventh top 10 finish of the season and completed a season in which she finished no lower than a tie for 18th in any event.

Junior Stefanie Endstrasser and sophomore Lizette Salas were All-American second teamers in 2008. Endstrasser, who joined the team in January after transferring from Purdue, had five top 16 finishes in seven outings last season, including tying for third at the NCAA West Regional and taking eighth at the Pac-10 Championships. Salas posted seven top 15 finishes last season as a freshman, including a tie for 15th at the NCAA Championships and a sixth at the 2008 Pac-10 Championships.

Joining the All-American trio in Maryland are junior Caroline Kim and true freshman Jennifer Song. Kim played in two tournament last season while Song brings an extensive amateur resume to the Trojans' starting lineup.

USC and 13th-year coach Andrea Gaston will be without Scheefel and fellow graduated senior Paola Moreno for the first time in four years. Mainstays for most of the past four seasons, Schreefel left USC a three-time All-American, Moreno a two-time All-American.

USC, which made its 17th consecutive NCAA appearance last season and its 11 straight in the championships final, led wire-to-wire in both the 2008 NCAA final and West Regional. The NCAA title was its fourth consecutive tournament win, a first in program history.

'We are looking forward to kicking off the season as we head to Maryland for the Fall Preview,' Gaston said. 'This will be a nice opportunity to get a look at the golf course that will be hosting the 2009 NCAA Championships. I've heard great things about the course, and I know our men's team competed at the national championship there a couple of years ago. I'm sure it will be quite challenging.

'Our players are coming off a bit of a break from their summer tournaments, so I know they are ready to get on the road and get the season started.'

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