Q&A with Kim Lewellen (April 13)
The Virginia women’s golf team heads to Greensboro this Friday to battle it out for the ACC Championship at Sedgefield Country Club. The nine conference teams will compete Friday through Sunday. Wake Forest bettered the Cavaliers by four shots to claim the 2010 title. UVa head coach Kim Lewellen talked to VirginiaSports.com about the upcoming tournament.
Question: This is the third consecutive year the ACC Championship has been held at Sedgefield Country Club. Is there any advantage returning to the same site?
Lewellen: I don’t think we have any more advantage than anyone else in the field. I would say all of the teams have about the same number of golfers who have played there in the past. If we have any advantage it is the fact we like the golf course a lot. The girls who have played there before all played well there. Calle (Nielson) and Brittany (Altomare) tied for second last year. Nicole (Agnello) performed well there last year. It will be new for Portland (Rosen), our first year, but she has played well all year. The course will also be new to Eleana (Collins), but she has performed very well every time she has been in the lineup this year. I have a strong team going and they’re all playing very well right now. Practices have been easy because everyone is doing so well. We’re going down there with a good mindset and I feel like we have a team that can play that course well.
Question: Nicole Agnello was slowed by a wrist injury early in the year, even sitting out one tournament. How is she doing going into the ACC Championships?
Lewellen: It is finally now coming around. With Nic, we’ve had to work on some golf swing changes that were due as much as anything to poor equipment. We’ve changed her golf equipment, which has changed the mechanic of her swing, which has helped her wrists. She should be healthy from here on out. I think that has all been managed well.
Question: Last year you had an unexpected, last minute change to the lineup. Is everyone ready to go this year?
Lewellen: Last year Joy Kim wasn’t able to go to the tournament because she came down with food poisoning right before we were scheduled to leave. That was really too bad because she was playing well for us. She bounced right back and helped out at the NCAAs. This year we have everyone ready to go.
Question: The team has seen a lot of players rise up and have outstanding performances during the course of the year. How do you feel about having that kind of depth in your lineup?
Lewellen: It is interesting that we have had five different players lead the team in scoring at different times this year. We have a very strong five who are going to the ACCs. At any moment any of them are capable of shooting a low round. We definitely have a lot of depth. I feel we have some girls who will be sitting at home, not playing this week, that I honestly believe could perform well and we could win a championship with them in the lineup too. We are in a good situation and a bad situation. We have a lot of depth, which is good to have. Unfortunately we have a couple of the bench who would very much like to be out there.
Question: The team has played better in later rounds and not gotten off to many fast starts in tournaments this year. Is that something you are looking to address at ACCs?
Lewellen: I have a few things that I am going to talk to the team about. I would like to get a little different mindset right out of the gate. I would like to have us in a good position after the first day and we haven’t done that as frequently as we should have this year. Maybe we need to start out a little more aggressive by thinking a little differently in warm ups and the night before.
Question: Can you handicap the field for this weekend?
Lewellen: Well, Duke is having a great spring and Wake has really come on strong lately, and they play Sedgefield very well. North Carolina is also very strong and I think we have a chance as well. I think it will come down to who has their players ready, who plays the best over three days and who is going to step it up for this competition. We’re playing pretty well right now, so I hope we can come home with the trophy.