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Improvement is the Name of the Game

Northern Arizona's Kim Cifuentes
Northern Arizona's Kim Cifuentes

TEMPE, Ariz. – Northern Arizona University head golf coach Brad Bedortha said at the end of yesterday's first round from the PING/Arizona State Invitational that he wanted to see better execution during today's second round…and that's exactly what his squad gave him.

As a team, the Lumberjacks improved on there 17-over-par 305 score Friday by 10 strokes, turning in a 7-over 295 tally Saturday. Northern Arizona is now 24-over (600) for the tournament with a third and final round teeing off tomorrow at 8:33 a.m. MT.

"I was really proud of them and their performance today," said Graduate Assistant Coach Langely Vannoy. "We did a lot of really good things that were missing from yesterday. As a coach, it was fun to watch them piece it together."

The most impressive round of the day came from senior Kim Cifuentes, who showed the talents she possess in logging and even-par 72 score. After going for a 7-over 79 yesterday, the Gilbert, Ariz., native kept her cool today in the heat of Tempe and was consistent throughout. She has moved up into a tie for 54th on the individual leaderboard (7-over 151).

"[Cifuentes] was really consistent and steady today," said Vannoy. "She remained under control, and showed just how great she can be when she plays calm, cool and collected."

Sofia Anokhina turned in the same score as Cifuentes today, tapping in for birdie five times during the second round en route to posting an even-72 mark. For the tournament, she is also at even-par with a 144 score and sits in a tie for 12th on the individual leaderboard. 

Kaitlyn Saum, scoring out of the No. 3 slot, was able to post a low round herself at 3-over 75 (10-over 154), while freshman teammate Loren Skibba has notched back-to-back respectable rounds after going for a 4-over 76 Saturday (7-over 151).

"[Skibba] made a lot of saves today," Vannoy admitted. "Her putting is what really kept her in this round; it was great. It could have been a lot worse, but she had a lot of good pars—I'm talking eight to 10-foot putts she sinking for par—and she hung in there."

Cifuentes agreed, affectionately saying Skibba "was a beast" on the course today.

Carly Akine was the final NAU scorer of the day, logging an 8-over 80 (21-over 165). Emma Reyes and Sierra Bezdicek closed out their unattached second rounds with a 4-over 76 and 5-over 77 respectably. 

As referenced above, the Lumberjacks will get underway tomorrow in the third round at 8:33, with each scoring golfer teeing off in nine minute intervals.