Defending Champion Trojans Set For NCAA Championships

May 14, 2009

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The No. 3 USC women's golf team, a season's worth of hard work behind it, finally gets the chance it has been waiting for all year, to defend its 2008 national title at the 2009 NCAA Championships, May 19-22, at the Caves Valley G.C. in Owings Mills, Md.


The Trojans advanced to the NCAA Championships final round by finishing second last week at the NCAA West Regional, its fourth consecutive top 2 finish at an NCAA regional event.

Featuring three players - No. 2 Lizette Salas, No. 3 Jennifer Song and No. 14 Belen Mozo -- ranked among the top 14 in the country according to, USC is out to win its second consecutive NCAA title and the third in program history. In fact, the Women of Troy, the 2008 and 2003 NCAA champions and the 2006 runner-up, have four top 4 finishes at the NCAAs in the past six years and eight in the top 7 since 1998. This is Troy's 12th consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships final (all under 13th-year Head Coach Andrea Gaston) and its 18th consecutive NCAA appearance overall.

Of the 24 teams that qualified (eight from each of the West, Central and East regions) for the NCAA Championships, 18 are ranked in the Top 25, including 14 of the top 15 teams. They are No. 1 Arizona State, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 USC, No. 4 Oklahoma State, No. 5 Wake Forest, No. 6 Virginia, No. 7 Alabama, No. 9 Purdue, No. 10 LSU, No. 11 Duke, No. 12 North Carolina, No. 13 Denver, No. 14 Pepperdine, No. 15 Georgia, No. 17 Arizona, No. 21 Michigan State, No. 22 New Mexico and No. 24 Tennessee. The six teams outside the top 25 also playing are No. 26 Ohio State, No. 28 Tulane, No. 29 UC Irvine, No. 31 TCU, No. 36 Texas and No. 46 Chattanooga.

Sophomore Lizette Salas has finished in the top 10 in all but one event this season.

Action begins at 7:30 a.m. each day. USC will begin the first two rounds paired with Purdue and Alabama, the three schools beginning play at 12:50 p.m. on Tuesday and at 8:20 a.m. on Wednesday (EDT). Tee times for the third and final rounds will be determined after the second round. Live scoring at the Par-72, 6,443-yard course will be available at

USC has won NCAA titles in 2003 and 2008. The Trojans finished six strokes ahead of UCLA last year and were 15 strokes better than second-place Pepperdine in 2003 ... This is USC's 22nd overall NCAA Championship final appearance and 12th in a row. In addition to winning two titles, the Trojans have twice finished second (2006 and 1994) and also finished third in 1986, fourth in 2007, 2000 and 1987 and fifth in 1993 ... USC has won three NCAA individual titles, including Jennifer Rosales in 1998, Mikaela Parmlid in 2003 (in a one-hole playoff) and Dewi Claire Schreefel in 2006. USC's three individual title winners ties it for third most in NCAA history with Duke. Arizona State has five and Arizona has four ... In addition to its three individual champions, USC players have posted eight other top five finishes. Paola Moreno (2007) tied for second, Irene Cho (2003), Candie Kung (2001) and Dana Arnold (1990) all tied for third, Jill McGill (1994) and current junior Belen Mozo (2008) finished fourth, Rosales tied for fourth (1999) and Leila Chartrand (2000) tied for fifth ... The NCAA title in 2008 was USC's fourth consecutive tournament win at the time, a first in program history ... USC had five All-Americans in 2008 for the first time in school history (Dewi Claire Schreefel, Paola Moreno, Belen Mozo, Stefanie Endstrasser, Lizette Salas).

Junior Belen Mozo has 11 rounds in the 60s for her career (one off the school record) and three this year. Freshman Jennifer Song has seven already (one off the season record) while Lizette Salas has six for her career (all this season) ... Song (71.41) and Salas (71.45) are both under USC's season record for stroke average (Irene Cho, 72.06) ... USC players have posted a combined 19 top 10 finishes this season and have had another five top 20 efforts ... USC set the school record for low team round (best four of five) with a 278 final round at the 2009 Pac-10 Championships. The previous record was 279, set originally in 2003 and matched during the first round of the 2008 Stanford Intercollegiate earlier this season ... USC's best combined round at an NCAA Championship is 284, set last year at the University of New Mexico G.C. in Albuquerque, N.M. Troy's best individual round at an NCAA Championships is 66, carded by Jennifer Rosales during her title run in 1998 ... USC has finished in the top 2 in 10 of the past 13 events and has 19 consecutive top 5 finishes, 23 consecutive top 6 finishes and 29 consecutive top 10 finishes in non-match play events.

Jr. Belen Mozo
Junior Belen Mozo is a two-time All-American (first team in 2008, honorable mention in 2007) who led USC last season with seven top 10 finishes and a team-best stroke average of 72.29. She had a streak of having finished no lower than a tie for 18th snapped in the fall at 14 events ... In eight events as a junior, the 2009 All-Pac-10 second-team pick has three top 6 finishes and three others in the top 15... Mozo, ranked No. 14 in the nation, posted a third-place finish at the Stanford Intercollegiate at 4-under 209 (68-71-70), was fifth at the NCAA Championships West Regional at 5-under 211 (66-70-75) and tied for sixth at the UCF Challenge with a 5-under 213 (74-65-74). Her 65 tied for the second-lowest round ever at USC ... At the 2009 Pac-10 Championships, she finished 11th ... She tied for 14th at the 2009 Fall Preview and the Arizona Wildcat Invitational ... Mozo has 11 career rounds in the 60s (three this season), one off the USC career record, held by Irene Cho.

So. Lizette Salas
Sophomore Lizette Salas, the current No. 2 ranked golfer in the country, earned All-American second-team honors as a 2008 freshman and is gunning for first-team status in 2009. Salas posted seven top 15 finishes last season, including a tie for 15th at the NCAA Championships and a sixth at the 2008 Pac-10 Championships ... In 2009, she has finished in the top 10 in eight of nine starts, including two first-place finishes and four others in the top 4 ... Salas, who was tabbed 2009 All-Pac-10 first team, became a first-time collegiate winner and posted an 18-hole best with a victory at the Stanford Intercollegiate, winning with a 7-under 206 (66-72-68). The 206 was the third-lowest score every by a Trojan ... She claimed a share of her second title at the 2009 Arizona Wildcat Invitational with a 3-under 213 (73-71-69) ... In the season opener, she finished third at 1-under 215 (73-74-68), her final round her first sub-70 effort as a Trojan ... At the rainy and windy Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, Salas fought her way to a tie for fourth. (The weather-impaired event is the only one in which Salas has been above par all season) ... At the 2009 Pac-10 Championships, she was alone in fourth at 2-under 211 (74-72-65), her final round one off the USC school record ... She tied for 10th again at the UCF Challenge with a 4-under 214 (71-70-73) and then took third at the Ping/ASU Invitational with a 3-under 213 (73-66-74) ... Her stroke average (71.45) is second best on the team, but still under USC's season record of 72.06 set by Irene Cho (freshman teammate Jennifer Song is currently at 71.41) ... Salas has six rounds in the 60s this year (second most on the team), two short of the season record (eight, Irene Cho) ... She was named Golf World's Collegiate Player of the Week (Feb. 23-March 1) following her win at the Wildcat Invitational.

Freshman Jennifer Song leads the Trojans with seven rounds in the 60s.

Fr. Jennifer Song
Freshman Jennifer Song, one of the top international amateur players to join the NCAA ranks in 2009, has broken onto the collegiate scene in a tremendous way with seven top 10 finishes in nine starts. The No. 3-ranked individual player in the country, she earned 2009 All-Pac-10 first team honors after reaching a three-way playoff at the 2009 Pac-10 Championships (which she lost on the first hole) ... Song made her first splash by tying for ninth in her USC debut at the 2009 Fall Preview with a 2-over 218 effort. She followed that with a tie for third at the Mason Rudolph at 6-under 210 (71-68-71) and a tie for 14th at the Stanford Intercollegiate. She tied for second at the rainy and windy 2009 Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge (where all players were well-over par) and tied for seventh at the 2009 Arizona Wildcat Invitational at 1-over 217 (73-72-72) ... She posted a then-season-best second at the Ping/ASU Invitational with a 4-under 212 (70-74-68) and was second again at the 2009 NCAA West Regional Championship, where she finished at 9-under 207 (72-67-68). Her regional total 207 tied her for the fourth-lowest 54-hole score in school history ... She leads the team lead with seven rounds in the 60s (one off the school-season record of eight set by Irene Cho) and also leads the team in stroke average (71.41, under Cho's school season record of 72.06).

Fr. Inah Park
Freshman Inah Park has made immediate contributions as a freshman, playing in seven events, six as a starter. She has finished in the top 30 in two recent outings, tying for 24th at the 2009 Pac-10 Championships with a 12-over 225 (78-75-72) and tying for 27th at the Ping/ASU Invitational with an 11-over 227 (75-76-76). She is fourth on the team in stroke average (76.35).

Jr. Caroline Kim
Junior Caroline Kim played in two tournaments as a sophomore last season. She has been a much more integral part of USC's team in 2009, playing in nine tournaments so far. She played in USC's first 2009 outing, taking 57th, and then tied for 38th at the Stanford Intercollegiate, her best finish as a Trojan. At the 2009 Pac-10 Championships, she was 42nd ... She carded her low round as a Trojan (69) during the Hooters Collegiate Match Play qualifying rounds (finishing 24th in individual scoring). She has been among USC's starting eight times this year.

Jr. Stefanie Endstrasser
Junior Stefanie Endstrasser earned All-American second-team honors as a 2008 sophomore, her first season with the Trojans (she transferred to USC after playing for Purdue in 2007). She finished with the third-best stroke average on the team last season (73.55) and had five top 16 finishes in seven outings. Endstrasser matched her best effort as a Trojan at the 2008 Mason Rudolph, tying for third with a 6-under 210 (71-70-69). She also tied for 35th in USC's first event this season.

Sr. Victoria Alimonda
Senior Victoria Alimonda saw action in four events as a 2008 junior. She posted a season-best tie for 50th at the Kent Youel Invitational and had a season-low round of 72 at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge. In her first action of the season, she tied for 83rd at the Mason Rudolph and also played in the Hooters Collegiate Match Play and the UCF Challenge.

Sr. Shelcie Takenouchi
Senior Shelcie Takenouchi played in two tournaments as a 2008 junior. She made her 2009 debut at the Mason Rudolph Championship, tying for 87th.

Head Coach Andrea Gaston
Andrea Gaston is in her 13th year as the Head Coach for USC women's golf and has led USC into the NCAA Championships final each of the past 11 years. One of the most successful coaches in the nation, she has guided USC to two national titles (2003 and 2008), five NCAA regional championships and one Pac-10 crown. Three Trojans (Jennifer Rosales, 1998, Mikaela Parmlid, 2003, and Dewi Claire Schreefel, 2006) have won NCAA individual titles under her watch and two have won the Honda Award for women's golf player of the year (Parmlid in 2003 and Irene Cho in 2006).


2008 Fall Preview
USC turned in the low final round and rallied to a second-place finish at the season-opening 2008 Fall Preview at the Caves Valley G.C. in Owings Mills, Md., on Sept. 8. The Trojans combined for a 3-under 285 to wrap up the tournament and finished at 16-over 880 (298-297-285). They were eight strokes behind first-place Arizona State (872). Lizette Salas's final-round 68 was her lowest round as a Trojan (it was 71 previously) and helped her finish at 1-under 215 (73-74-68), good for third overall, her best finish as a Trojan. Belen Mozo carded a 2-under final round to move into a tie for 14th at 4-over 200 (76-74-70). Her finish extends her streak of top 18 finishes to 14.

2008 Mason Rudolph Championship
USC finished second at the 2008 Mason Rudolph Championship, extending its streak of finishing no lower than second to six events. USC finished at 8-under 856 (288-285-283), six strokes back of winner UCLA (850). Stefanie Endstrasser (71-70-69) and freshman Jennifer Song (71-68-71) tied for third at 6-under 210. For Endstrasser, it tied her lowest finish as a Trojan, matching her effort at the 2008 NCAA West Regional Championship. It was also Song's best at Troy, topping her ninth-place mark in her debut tournament earlier this month. Lizette Salas also clocked out with her second top 10 finish of the season, tying for 10th at 2-under 214 (71-73-70). She was third in USC's first event. USC also lengthened streaks for consecutive top 5 finishes (12), consecutive top 6 finishes (16) and consecutive top 10 finishes (22).

2008 Stanford Intercollegiate
Lizette Salas won her first career collegiate title while the No. 1 USC women's golf team posted its seventh consecutive top 2 finish at the 2008 Stanford Intercollegiate at Stanford G. C. (Oct. 17-19). USC finished the 54-hole event at 5-under 847 (279-286-282), three behind first-place UCLA (844) and 10 ahead of third-place Stanford (857). Troy, which began the day three back of UCLA, battled the Bruins throughout the day and flirted with first place before falling back on the final few holes. Still, in addition to extending its top 2 streak to seven, USC now has 13 consecutive top 5 finishes, 17 consecutive top 6 finishes and 23 consecutive top 10 finishes. Salas won the individual title with a 7-under 206 (66-72-68), taking over the lead during a 2-under front 9 and sealing it with a 1-under on the back 9. Salas, who didn't break 71 during an All-American freshman season last year, has gone under 70 three times in three events as a sophomore and has finished no lower than 10th (she is the only Trojan to post three top 10 finishes this season). Mozo, meanwhile, turned in a 1-under final round, bogeying the 2nd hole and birdying the 11th and 12th holes. Her third-place finish is her best on the season and her highest since tying for third at the 2008 Pac-10 Championships.

2008 Hooters Collegiate Match Play
USC opened the Hooters event fourth after 36 holes of stroke play to qualify for the winners bracket of the 16-team field at Ginn Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla. Jennifer Song turned in a 4-under 140 (72-68) Lizette Salas tied for 10th at even 144 (73-71). USC, playing without starters Belen Mozo and Stefanie Endstrasser, faced Duke next and lost on a tiebreaker. In a winners consolation bracket matchup, USC fell to UCLA, 4-1, and later fell to Virginia.

2009 Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge
Freshman Jennifer Song tied for second and sophomore Lizette Salas tied for fourth to lead USC, which finished fourth at the 2009 Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge (Feb. 9-11). In a tournament played in constant cold and windy conditions (with rain in the opening round),USC finished at 67-over 919 (313-299-307). Arizona State finished first at 46-over 898 with Wake Forest climbing into second (916) and UCLA taking third (917). USC extended its steak of top 5 finishes to 14 events. It was also its 18th straight top 6 finish and its 23 consecutive top 10 finish. Song's tie for second was a USC best for the freshman. She completed 54 holes at 9-over 22 (79-70-73). Song shook off a shaky first round to post the best combined second- and third-round total (143) of any in the draw. Salas's tie for fourth marked her fourth top 10 finish in as many starts this season.

2009 Arizona Wildcat Invitational
Sophomore Lizette Salas claimed a share of her second title this season to pace the then-No. 2 USC women's golf team to a tie for second at the Arizona-hosted 2009 Wildcat Invitational at Peninsula G.C. in Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico (Feb. 22-24). USC finished at 14-over 878 (302-287-289), tied for second with Arizona State (295-290-293). UCLA won at 4-over 869 (287-295-287). USC notched its eighth top 2 finish in the past nine events and its 15th consecutive top 5 finish. Salas, who hasn't finished outside of the top 10 this season, finished tied for first at 3-under 213 (73-71-69) with New Mexico's Jodi Ewart (72-71-70). Freshman Jennifer Song tied for seventh at 1-over 217 (73-72-72). It was her fourth top 10 finish in five starts this year. Junior Belen Mozo also played strong for the second day in a row and tied for 14th at 4-over 220 (78-71-71).

2009 UCF Challenge
Junior Belen Mozo tied for sixth and sophomore Lizette Salas tied for 10th - extending her streak of top 10 finishes to six - as the duo led the No. 3 USC women's golf team to fourth at the 2009 UCF Challenge at the RedTail G.C. in Sorrento, Fla., on Tuesday (March 11). Troy finished fourth with a 54-hole 8-over 872 (291-286-295). UCLA took first (850) while Arizona State was second (857) and Oklahoma State was third (861). Troy extended its streak of finishing no lower than sixth to 20 consecutive tournaments. Mozo turned in her second top 10 and fourth top 20 finish on the season with a 3-under 213 (74-65-74). A day after finishing within a stroke of tying the school record for low round, Mozo was 2-over, including an early birdie and three bogeys. Salas finished at 2-under 214 (71-70-73), keeping her top 10 streak alive with a 1-over final round. She birdied the second hole and had just two bogeys the rest of the way.

2009 Ping/ASU Invitational
Freshman Jennifer Song and sophomore Lizette Salas finished second and third, respectively, for the third-ranked USC women's golf team, which finished fourth on the final day of the 2009 Ping/ASU Invitational at the Karsten G.C. in Tempe, Ariz., on Sunday (April 5). Oklahoma State won the event at 17-over 881, edging Purdue by one stroke. Host Arizona State fell from first to third at 886 while USC, playing in its final regular-season event of the season, was fourth at 27-over 891 (297-296-298). Song used a final-round 68 to finish at 4-under 212 (70-74-68), securing her fourth top 4 finish of the season. She opened her round with three consecutive birdies and had another on 13 and completed her round without a bogey. Song finished one back of first-place Maria Hernandez of Purdue. Salas finished third at 3-under 213 (73-66-74), her seventh top 10 finish in as many events. A day after firing a 6-under second-round, Salas was still fighting for the individual crown before three late bogeys dropped her out of first. Freshman Inah Park produced her best finish as a Trojan, tying for 27th at 11-over 227 (75-76-76).

2009 Pac-10 Championships
USC placed second at the 2009 Pac-10 Women's Golf Championship at the Stanford G.C., finishing nine strokes back of first-place Arizona State. Freshman Jennifer Song rallied to earn a spot in a three-way playoff, but lost on the first hole. She and sophomore Lizette Salas, who carded a final round 6-under 65 to finish fourth, were named to the 2009 All-Pac-10 first team while junior Belen Mozo was selected as second team. USC's final-round 278 set a school record while Salas' 65 was one off the Trojan single-round record.

2009 NCAA Championships West Regional
Needing a Top 8 finish in its NCAA Championship West Regional for a chance to defend its 2008 NCAA title, No. 3 USC did what it needed to do, finishing in second place at the Karsten G.C. in Tempe, Ariz., on May 9 to earn a berth into the NCAA Championship final. The Trojans saw their three-year NCAA Region winning streak come to the end as Arizona State, playing on its home course, ran away with the region at 22-under 842 (273-283-286). But with all of the top 8 finishers moving on, Troy's second-place finish at 3-under 861 (289-283-289) was more than enough to advance to its 12th consecutive NCAA final field. Jennifer Song took second at 9-under 207 (72-67-68) tying for the fourth-lowest 54-hole total in school history. Her final round 4-under 68 was also her team best seventh round in the 60s this year. Belen Mozo finished fifth at 5-under 211 (66-70-75) for her third top 10 finish on the season.

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