Women's Golf |
Sept. 12, 2011
By Shawn Sell
Traditionally, college golf is considered by many to be a spring sport. With conference and the NCAA Championships held during April and May, many don't realize that the sport actually covers two seasons, the fall and the spring. But for University of Cincinnati golf coaches Doug Martin and Janet Carl, they start taking things seriously the minute their players return to campus.
Unlike many other sports (soccer, football and volleyball to name a few), the college golf season carries equal weight in both parts of the year in which it is played. The tournaments teams play in the fall count the same as those in the spring when it comes to figuring national and conference rankings.
"I kind of take a little bit of a different approach as a northern school," third-year men's coach Martin says. "When we come in in the fall, we are all on even playing field. The reason being, we have all come off playing summer tournaments and practicing. It's when we come out in the spring (that) I think we are at a significant disadvantage. When we have had good teams since I've been here and improved our rankings, it's been as a result of the fall.
"Golf is a quote `spring sport,' but I look at it as an all-year sport," he continues. "It's just as important for the northern schools to get off on a good foot in the fall, because if you don't play good in the fall, you are in real trouble from a rankings standpoint. We are trying to use all year to build for the conference tournament."
"The fall has to be as serious as the spring because your record in the fall counts the same as your record in the spring," Carl, now in her eighth year in charge of the women's program adds. "I definitely think that you are testing the team (in the fall). For me, when the girls come back this time of year, they are in the best golf shape that they are going to be in because they've gone through the summer of playing."
The men's team was the first to kick off the new season when they opened play on Monday (September 12th) at the Marshall Invitational. As the fall progresses and turns into the spring portion of the schedule, Martin will count on a strong junior class to lead the way. The class will have to be a forefront of a team that includes just one senior and must replace multi-time all-conference selection Joe Kastelic
"When we met at the end of last year, I basically proposed a challenge to the four juniors that one of them had to come back and fill Joe's shoes," Martin says. "I would love two of them to do that. They were given that challenge and we will see how that goes. From a leadership standpoint, I think we are going to be outstanding. I think we have some people in place that understand what I want and what I expect."
The leader in the race to top Martin's line-up is David Tepe. As a sophomore last year, Tepe had a great season, finishing second on the team in average at 75.2, just 0.3 behind Kastelic's team-best mark. Martin expects more of the same from Tepe who wrapped up last year on a high note.
"I think David has a chance to be a great player before he is done," Martin says. "I think all four of those juniors have a chance. David finished in the top-10 in the conference last year; he is obviously coming off a high note and I expect good things from him."
Martin also pointed to sophomore Spencer Mellon as a player to watch this year. After a slow start last year, Mellon rallied to finish tied for fourth on his squad with a 76.8 average. The balance of the junior class in Zach Bates (76.0), Andrew Desmarais (76.8) and Matt Ledom (81.3), along with freshmen newcomers Michael Wolfe and Jared Howard will also be in the mix for line-up assignments for the Bearcats.
Like their male counterparts, the UC women's team also has a talented returning nucleus but must replace two seasoned veterans. Gone are former all-conference selections Bambee Dela Paz and Jenny Linville, two staples in Coach Carl's line-ups for the last four years. While their experience will be missed, Carl's squad is taking a team first approach to replacing those scores.
"If each of our top girls could simply remove one to one and a half strokes from their average per person, we are still going to be a better team than we were last year," she says. "That will help us overcome the loss of those two seniors."
Headlining the top of the Bearcat line-up will likely be a pair of sophomores, and natives of Sweden, Olivia Dose and Andrea Malek. Dose finished 2010-11 just behind Dela Paz in average at 77.3 and carded the squad's best round of the year, a 69, at Louisville's Cardinal Challenge. Malek was the fourth ranked UC golfer last year, finishing with a 79.3 average.
Joining the sophomore duo and providing much needed leadership for an otherwise young squad will be juniors Alex Carl and Sage Roth. Carl has seen lots of playing time during her career, while Roth is a relative newcomer after transferring to UC from Tulane. One other player Coach Carl is high on entering the season is Mississippi State transfer Maria Roos, yet another native of Sweden.
"The fifth spot is kind of up in the air," Carl says. "We picked up Maria and she comes in with the knowledge of what it takes to play collegiate golf at this level. I think that is a huge bonus to us. There are some others in there as well, but after watching her in our recent preseason trip, she is very solid. She is what I would expect a player from a top Division I program to be."
When the Bearcats travel to Louisville to kick off the season at next week's Cardinal Cup, they will start the process of accomplishing Carl's three goals for the fall season.
"In the fall, we are trying to compete as best we can to position ourselves to get in the best groups possible in the BIG EAST Tournament," she says. "I am also trying to get the chemistry of the team together; trying to figure out who works best with whom out on the golf course. I also want to help the team understand the course management techniques that it takes to play at the level we are competing at."
Each of the Bearcat squads will contest five tournaments this fall, before the spring season gets underway in late February. Highlighting the men's schedule will be the UC Invitational at Traditions Golf Club and a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The women's docket for the fall includes trips to New Mexico State and Florida International.