There's plenty of reason for Colette Murray to have high expectations for her University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's golf team this season.
The Mocs begin their competition this weekend at the Mason Rudolph Championships in Franklin, Tenn., with all five starters returning from last season and one addition: junior Kirsty Beckwith, a transfer from St. John's who was a first-team All-Big East Conference player as a sophomore.
"She wants to be in a more competitive environment and feels like we can provide that," Murray said at the time of Bechwith's transfer. "I believe she can really help us."
Beckwith joins All-Southern Conference junior Monica San Juan, seniors Cristina Perez and Megan Woods and sophomores Maddy McDanel and Holly Morgan, the latter a 2017 SoCon all-freshman selection.
The three-day, 54-hole event begins Friday. The Mocs tied for fifth there last season, matching Auburn at 879, which was 16 shots better than UTC's previous top score in the event. The score beat Vanderbilt, Baylor, Virginia and Michigan State.
The UTC men are off this weekend after a 13th-place finish at the Carpet Capital Classic in Rocky Face, Ga. Coach Mark Guhne's 2017-18 club is breaking in three new players, and after a slow start the team finished strong the last two days at The Farm, shooting 578.
"I was excited about our group coming into this weekend, and nothing's changed," Guhne said afterward. "We'll work hard to find the right five; that's not to say this isn't it, but we have a lot of competition to play week in, week out. That's healthy."
Coming off a championship, 2-1 weekend at home, the volleyball Mocs will face maybe their stiffest challenge yet this weekend when they play in the Missouri State Invitational.
The Mocs (7-4) will face the tournament host, Missouri State, before matches against Illinois and Washington State. Coach Travis Filar said recently all three programs were "fringe Top 25 teams," and in the most recently NCAA volleyball poll, Illinois was 29th, Washington State 30th and Missouri State 32nd. The three have a combined record of 20-6.
After this weekend, the Mocs start SoCon play at home against Western Carolina.
After taking last weekend off from competition, the running Mocs will be in the Falcon Classic in Montevallo, Ala. The teams competed in the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic on Sept. 2, with the men finishing third and the women sixth.
UTC's soccer team (2-4-2), in the midst of a six-game road series, plays at Alabama on Sunday. It's the last nonconference game before three road matches to start league play.
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @genehenleytfp.