Coach: Long break helpful

Angie Ravaioli-Larkin is in her 15th season as head coach of the women’s golf team. Success has come frequently for teams under her guidance, and she said she hopes that trend will continue as the team moves forward this spring.

“We set really high goals,” Ravaioli-Larkin said. “We go in every tournament with the goal of winning. We really have the depth this year and the talent to really take it deep.”

After a three-month break, the golf team gets rolling again with a tournament in Puerto Rico starting Sunday.

The long break is normal in college golf, and Ravaioli-Larkin said it has little effect on her players in the past.

“It’s kind of nice for them to get a break,” she said. “We’re one of the few sports where we do actually play all year long.”

Ravaioli-Larkin said the break is also good for the team because it gives everyone a chance to make swing changes and fix any other major problems.

She said junior Valentine Derrey has turned into an influential leader on the team.

“She’s really already stepped it up this spring in the leadership role both on and off the golf course,” she said.

Ravaioli-Larkin said Derrey, a native of France, is used to team golf because European golf is more deeply rooted in team play.

The team’s two freshmen, Brooke Beeler and Rachel Raastad, did a great job in the fall and hope to make even more of a contribution in the spring.

“We’re looking for them to use that fall experience to elevate themselves to an even higher level,” Ravaioli-Larkin said.

The team participated in four tournaments in the fall, but the coach said those tournaments could have gone better for her squad.

“It wasn’t bad, but we’re just capable of so much more,” she said.

All of the spring tournaments lead up to the Mountain West Conference Championship in Seaside, Calif., beginning April 16. NCAA Regionals and the NCAA National Championship follow soon after.

Ravaioli-Larkin said the big tournaments at the end of the season are on the team’s mind, but they still focus their attention on what’s immediately ahead.

“It’s still important to focus on what you have next,” she said.

The Horned Frogs will attempt to reclaim the Mountain West Conference title, a feat they last accomplished in 2007. The University of New Mexico claimed the title last season at a tournament in Albuquerque, N.M.

“It’s just a matter of them believing in themselves and knowing how capable they really are,” Ravaioli-Larkin said.