May 17, 2001

Notre Dame, Ind. – University of Notre Dame women’s golf coach Ross Smith announced today that Karen Lotta (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Casey Rotella (Keswick, Va.) have signed national letter-of-intents to attend Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2001.

The two newest Irish golfers bring outstanding golf credentials to Notre Dame and will fill the void left due to the graduation of seniors, Shane Smith (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Danielle Villarosa (Verona, N.J.).

“Both Karen and Casey are outstanding student-athletes who have competed on the national level in junior golf with a high level of success. I expect both of them to have an impact on our program next season,” says Smith.

Lotta, currently a senior at Marymount High School in Los Angeles, is a talented all-around athlete who has also played four years of softball and soccer and three years of tennis during her high school career at Marymount. One of the top junior golfers in Southern California, Lotta was the CIF Southern Section Champion in November finishing first among 122 participants. Also on her resume are first place finishes at the Woodley Invitational, the Harry Pressler Invitational and the Alondra Park Invitational along with a top ten finish in the California State junior championships at Pebble Peach. Last December, she finished fifth at the Metro Division Tournament of Champions by shooting a 77. Lotta owns a two handicap.

“Karen is a gifted athlete who is a strong student from the prestigious Marymount High School. She has competed in numerous national tournaments with several top 10 finishes including four first place titles. We expect Karen to make an immediate impact on our program and help fill the void left by our two graduating seniors,” says Smith.

Rotella is currently a senior at Monticello High School in Charlottesville, Va., where she was one of the top five players on the boy’s golf team for the past three seasons. This year’s team won the district title, tied for first at the regionals (lost title in a playoff) and finished fourth in the state tournament. Individually, Rotella finished second in the district and was 10th in the regionals. In three years playing for the boys team, Rotella has helped Monticello to three district titles, a pair of regional titles and three top-five finishes in the state. She also has extensive junior golf experience which has helped her develop her game over the last two years. This past year, Rotella was a member of the Nike USA Team that played against Ireland and led that team with three wins and a tie. She owns a seven handicap and had an overall national average of 80 last season. Casey is the daughter of noted sports psychologist Robert Rotella.

“Casey is very strong academically and will be able to compete at a high level both in the classroom and on the golf course,” says Smith, who just finished his eighth season as Notre Dame’s women’s golf coach.

“She has made great improvement over the last two seasons and has benefited from playing the past three years as one of the top five players on the Monticello boys golf team. We expect her to make a strong impact on our program.”

The Notre Dame women’s golf program is coming off its top season ever as the Irish recorded a school record three tournament championships during the fall and spring seasons. Smith’s squad won the first Notre Dame Invitational played at the new, on-campus, Warren Golf Course in the fall and followed that with tournament titles at the William and Mary Invitational and the Illinois Spring Classic in April.