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The 2013-14 edition of the Hollins golf team came into the season with high expectations after their stellar 2012-13 season. But by the time the first tournament rolled around, Hollins had just two golfers ready for competition. Nevertheless, what Hollins lacked in numbers they more than made up for with talent.
Elizabeth Cheng '14 (Virginia Beach, VA) (above, right) came into her final season looking to build upon her trip to the NCAA DIII National Tournament, where she finished 16th, with an even better final campaign. A 2012-13 DIII All-American, Cheng got off to a solid start by finishing second in the ODAC Preview. Over the next two events, the senior picked up another second place finish before ending the fall season tied for medalist honors at the Bridgewater Invitational.
The spring season was set to start with a trip to the Jekyll Island Collegiate, the most prestigious DIII tournament of the year. Cheng had won the Jekyll Island event one season ago and came into the 2014 Collegiate looking to move up the NCAA rankings. After finishing eighth, behind five of the top ten players in the nation, Elizabeth had positioned herself as one of the outstanding individuals in the country. Over the next two events, Cheng finished fifth and picked up her first outright win of the season.
After a second place finish at the ODAC Championships, Cheng fell just short of making the 2014 NCAA DIII National Tournament field. When the season ended, the awards began to flood in for the standout golfer. Cheng was picked as First Team All-ODAC and earned ODAC Women’s Golf Scholar Athlete of the Year honors for the second consecutive season. On the national scene, Cheng was, for the third year in a row, named All East Region and followed up her 2013 Second Team All-American selection by being chosen as a 2014 NCAA DIII All-American Honorable Mention after finishing the season ranked 21st in the nation. VaSID (Sports Information Directors of Virginia) selected Cheng to the Second Team VaSID All State, one of only two DIII members of the ten-golfer team. The WGCA (Women’s Golf Coaches Association) recognized Cheng as an All-American Scholar for the fourth time in her illustrious career.
Shannon Ciccarello '17 (Stafford, VA) (above, left) came into her initial collegiate season with the chance to play side-by-side with one of the best women’s golfers in the country. Ciccarello took full advantage of her opportunity and posted a tremendous first season. She got off to a quick start in establishing herself as the best first-year golfer in the conference when she posted a sixth place finish at the ODAC Previews.
As the tournament competition got better, so did the play of Ciccarello. She finished in the top 20 against her stiffest competition to date before finishing the fall with another sixth place finish. In her first try at the Jekyll Island Collegiate, she finished in the top half of the prestigious field. Of 12 ODAC golfers competing in the event, Cicarrello finished third behind only Cheng and Olivia Bowling (the reigning ODAC Tournament champion). After yet another top 20 finish at Randolph-Macon, Cicarrello ended the regular season with a second place finish, the highest of her first-year season. In the season-ending conference championship, she once again finished sixth, her fourth top 10 finish of the year.
For her efforts, Ciccarello was named Second Team All-ODAC and took home the 2014 ODAC Women's Golf Rookie of the Year award. Like Cheng, she was selected as an All-American Scholar by the WGCA.
Despite the graduation of Cheng, Hollins has another stellar golfer to carry the program into the future. Next season will see Hollins field a full roster and the young talented group will look to once again compete for an ODAC Championship.
Elizabeth Cheng '14 shot a final round 79 to finish in a tie for 12th at the NCAA Division III Women's Golf Championships which were held May 14-17, 2013 at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, Florida. Her performance is the best ever for a Hollins golfer in the DIII tournament. She becomes just the second Hollins golfer to earn a berth in the national tournament.
Cheng enjoyed a stellar junior campaign at Hollins and finished the season ranked eighth in the country. The Virginia Beach native won the prestigious Jekyll Island Collegiate, defeating ten of the top 20 golfers in the nation. She was named ODAC Women's Golfer of the Year and also received the 2012-13 Sportswoman of the Year award at Hollins' annual end-of-season Athletic Banquet.
Cheng was featured in an article in The Roanoke Times [5/14/13]