Chattanooga Mocs' Maria Juliana Loza tied for sixth

Chattanooga Mocs' Maria Juliana Loza tied for sixth

May 12th, 2012 by David Uchiyama in Sports - College

UTC senior Maria Juliana Loza watches an approach shot Friday during the second round of the NCAA East Regional. Loza is contention to advance as an individual to the NCAA championship.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's golf team faced long odds of advancing from the NCAA East Regional before the tournament began.

Their odds have grown longer after the first two rounds at the Penn State Blue Course.

UTC is in 21st place at 41 over par and would need to climb past 15 teams -- making up at least 18 shots -- in today's final round to advance to the national championship tournament.

"It's sad and solemn knowing that we're pretty much out of it as a team," coach Colette Murray said. "But we're going to go down fighting. If we can get a top-15 finish, we'd be happy with it."

But the Mocs could be represented at the national championship by an individual.

Senior Maria Juliana Loza shot an even-par 72 on Friday, which puts her at 1 over for the tournament and in a tie for sixth place.

"Maju is still in the thing," Murray said.

The top eight teams and the top two individuals not on those teams will compete for national championships at the Vanderbilt Legend's Club. Loza could be one of those two with a good final round after playing the first 36 holes in cold, rainy, windy conditions.

Loza, who grew up in Colombia, is one stroke behind Charlotte Lorenzen of Georgia Stare for that top individual spot. She is one ahead of Julie Vogagphoumy from Maryland and two ahead of Gina Clark from San Diego State.

"I'll be with her," Murray said. "My intentions for the final round are to be around her as much as possible. If we make it to Nashville, that would be a plus."

Loza had the best UTC score Friday. Sophomores Marion Duvernay and Jordan Britt shot 5-over 77s, sophomore Sophie Weilguni shot an 80 and Mette Kryger had the drop score.

Former Baylor School golfer Brooke Pancake of second-place Alabama shot an even-par 72, which leaves her 3 over for the tournament and in a tie for 13th place.