Gamecock women's golf will look to improve after its fall season by taking advantage of depth as it transitions into a competitive spring schedule.
The Gamecocks' best finish in the fall came Oct 4. during the Windy City Collegiate Classic in Highland Park, Illinois. The team placed second, falling to the University of Southern California by nine strokes.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting the recruiting process for all NCAA teams, the Gamecocks have benefited from the fifth year of eligibility offered by gaining key players.
“It's been actually really interesting. It's helped us quite a bit in the sense that we've gained a lot from the portal,” head coach Kalen Anderson said. “We have Katherine Muzi here this year, and we’ve gained a couple other players in the past from the portal, then used that fifth year quite a bit, so we've benefited quite a bit from it.”
Muzi, a graduate student, was one of just two players that South Carolina picked up from the transfer portal this season. Muzi said she's enjoyed her time so far with the team.
"I'm from California, like LA area, so I've pretty much never lived outside of LA so it's been a really fun experience,” Muzi said. “Different culture, my teammates are all from Europe. I feel like the transition has been pretty good, new coaches, I really like what they're doing.”
Sophomore Hannah Darling has been a star for the Gamecocks. In the fall, Darling never placed outside the top-10 in the four tournaments she competed in for the Gamecocks. She finished a season-high second place at the Windy City Collegiate Classic. However, she said she knows what improvements she needs to make to keep dominating during the spring stretch.
“I think it's just gradual improvements to be honest, just making sure that everything is going in the right direction,” Darling said. “For me personally, it's trying to improve on some approach stuff, that's probably the area of my game that has the biggest improvements.”
Freshman Mia Sandtorv Lussand has also has a promising future ahead of her in Garnet and Black. Sandtorv Lussand made her debut at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate tournament on Sept. 12-14, tying for 19th place in the field.
“It's gonna be fun to kinda see how our freshman Mia has settled in after a semester. She looks really good in terms of her game right now,” Anderson said. “Just seeing her back after the semester break and kind of the work she's done but just obviously giving her a little bit more experience is great, and I think it'll be fun to watch her kind of gain some more experience over the semester.”
As Anderson continues her 16th season as head coach of South Carolina, she said she hopes to see the team utilize its strengths and make a deep run this year.
“I look for all six to contribute, and it's going to be really really great that we have the depth this year. And I think that's going to be a major strength to our team,” Anderson said.
The Gamecocks began its spring 2023 season Feb. 13 in New Providence, Bahamas for the Nexus Collegiate Invitational, which will wrap up on Feb. 15. South Carolina will play in a total of five tournaments this spring leading up to the SEC Championship and National Championship.