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This weekend the Virginia women’s golf team opens the spring portion of its season at Miami’s Qdoba Invitational. The Cavaliers are ranked 22nd by Golfstat and 23rd in the Golfweek standings following the fall season. Virginia was led in the fall by East Carolina transfer Lene Krog, who had top-10 finishes in three of four events. UVa starts play Sunday in the three-day, 54-hole tournament. caught up with head coach Kim Lewellen to get her thoughts on the team as they “make the turn” in their schedule:

Question: How do you feel about where your team is heading into your first tournament of the spring this weekend?
Lewellen: I am very optimistic all the time, but the girls are by far in the best shape they have ever been in while working with the trainers here. We have been using the Redcord technique, which is something that has been studied here at UVa. Suzann Pettersen is one of the LPGA golfers who uses it as part of her workout technique. It strengthens the core and adds flexibility and helps to prevent injuries. I think they are all as strong as they have ever been and it has helped Jennie (Arseneault), who has been out because of a bad back. She is now back in the game. The girls have just improved and improved. Again, I am optimistic, but we should be much better than that by the end of the year.

Question: What does it mean to have a healthy Jennie Arseneault back in the lineup?
Lewellen: I am very excited to have her in the lineup. She is a great player and a great competitor. When she steps out on the course to play you can see it in her eyes. She is a fierce competitor and wants to play well. Considering how we played in the fall, putting Jennie in there is just going to add to the depth of the team we had last fall.

Question: Lene Krog got her UVa career off with an impressive start in the fall. Can she keep up those kinds of performances?
Lewellen: Lene has plenty of room for improvement. She has nowhere reached the potential that she can possible be at. She is extremely strong, a physically strong person. Technique, golf-wise, she is phenomenal. Once everything lines up, I think she will be one of the top players in the country. I’m talking about top five in the country. She can be that good of a player.

Question: How do you expect the team to start this spring?
Lewellen: We have only missed four days of practice because of the weather this year and two of those were recently. We have played and played and played. I had expected we would have to take days off and we did not have to. They are prepared and ready. I feel right out of the gate we can be pretty good.

Question: On a personal level, now that you have had the opportunity to coach the team for several months, what are your feelings going into the first tournament of the spring?
Lewellen: What excites me is that I have the same feeling as when I was a competitive golfer the butterflys I had, the excitement I had. All of those feelings and emotions I had as a player, I think I will have as a coach because I believe we will be in contention a lot and a lot of the girls, individually, will be in contention. I am a competitor and to share those same feelings the girls are experiencing, that is why I enjoy coaching so much.

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