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Nataliya Guseva Named ACC Freshman of the Year

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – For the first time in program history, a member of the University of Miami golf team has garnered an individual ACC honor.

Despite joining the Hurricanes as an early January enrollee fewer than four months ago, Nataliya Guseva has quickly risen up the national rankings and on Thursday morning was announced as the ACC Freshman of the Year.

“I, of course, was surprised,” Guseva said. “[Assistant] coach John [Koskinen] told me as soon as he saw the email and both he and [head] coach Patti [Rizzo] were so happy about it and they were just hugging me. It is just one of the best things actually. This really was one of my goals, to be the ACC Freshman of the Year, but I don’t think it is the last thing that is going to happen this year. I hope there are some more victories and trophies on the way. I am just so happy that I am here in Miami and that I have such a big support system between my coaches and team.

“It is just a really big thing,” Guseva added. “The ACC is one of the strongest conferences in the country and I am really happy to be ACC Freshman of the Year. I want to thank my coaches and my teammates, as they have been helping me all season long. I have been practicing and working so hard for this and it really is such a great honor.”

A native of Moscow, Guseva has continued to make improvements to her game at each tournament, claiming top-20 finishes at all six events.

The 24th-ranked collegiate golfer (golfstat.com) and fifth-ranked freshmen enters NCAAs with the second-lowest scoring average in program history (71.4), an average that puts her fourth among her ACC peers in 2021.

After opening her collegiate career tied for 19th at the UCF Challenge, Guseva immediately followed it up with a top-15 finish at the Moon Golf Invitational (t11 – two-under, 214).

Since then, she has placed among the top-six in each of the final four tournaments, including the top individual finish (sixth) by a Hurricane at the ACC Championships since 2017, when Delfina Acosta placed third as a senior.

Up next, Guseva and the Hurricanes are set to travel to Baton Rouge, La., for the program’s eighth consecutive NCAA regional appearance. The three-round event is scheduled May 10-12 with the top six teams and three individuals advancing to the NCAA Championship May 21-26 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“NCAA regionals and nationals are two of the most important tournaments of the year. We have been preparing really hard for it. We have changed a little bit of our practice tempo and working even harder now, and we know as a team we can achieve the goals we set before the season began,” Guseva said. “We know that the last time Miami made it to nationals was in 2017, so I am hoping to do everything I can to help us reach nationals and I just know we will fight until the very end. I don’t have a doubt that we will make it to the NCAA Championships, since Patti and John have so much experience and will help us along the way. I am really looking forward to it and hope to bring a big trophy home.”