When the women’s golf team sunk its final putt at Wittenberg University’s Pat Clouse Invitational, it capped one of its best seasons in school history.
The most significant accomplishment of the women’s golf team this season was receiving a spot within its national rankings. According to Golfstat.com, a college golf statistics website, the Blue and Gold are ranked No. 2 in Division III, trailing close behind Methodist University. The team also defended its Empire 8 national championship title for a fourth straight year.
The Bombers have fared extremely well against all Division III programs they faced this season, finishing with a 55–4 record. This success will guarantee a No. 1 state ranking, as the Bombers went undefeated against all New York state opponents. The squad has competed with and beat nationally-ranked teams, most recently defeating No. 5 DePauw University, which helped the Bombers climb to No. 2 in the nation.
The Bombers started this run to No. 2 at the Empire 8 Championship Tournament in September. The squad shot 313 strokes on day one, which tied the team’s single-round record set earlier this year at St. Lawrence University. When the team shot 627 strokes in the tournament, it set a school record. The Bombers also outscored their closest competitor in the Empire 8 tournament by 188 strokes.
Junior Sharon Li received individual accolades for her recent play after receiving Empire 8 Player of the Week four times this season. Li said she has noticed a drastic change in her game this season as opposed to last.
Though the team finished in first place in half the tournaments played this season, it didn’t play to the best of its ability in every tournament.
This concern for the South Hill squad was the contest at the Williams Fall Classic Invitational match Oct. 5 in Williamstown, Mass. The team finished in third place out of 15 teams, which might not seem bad on the surface. However, it was the lowest finish for the Blue and Gold this season.
The recruiting class for the Bombers this year also contributed to the team’s climb to No. 2, including Kimberley Wong, Lisa Calcasola and Mary Rooker. Wong’s best performance this season was a 77, Calcasola was not far behind with an 80.
Head coach Dan Wood said the newcomers will be key to the team’s success for years to come because they have collectively gained varsity experience in their first year at the college.
Freshman Kimberly Wong said the biggest challenge she needed to overcome was the change in scenery, not just living in a different county, but also the golf courses she would be competing on.
“My play this season was better than I had expected because it was my first time playing those courses, and I had to adapt to the new weather conditions and environment,” Wong said. “At the same time, I know there is always room for improvement, and I have confidence that we as a team will improve and have a better season next spring.”
Most importantly, Wood mentioned that he has seen improvement from the entire team. The players collectively improved 13 strokes from the 2012 fall season to the 2013 fall season.
The Bombers also swept the fall Empire 8 conference awards, as Wood received Coach of the Year honors, Li was named the Player of the Year and Wong captured the Rookie of the Year award.
“This season was a great success,” Li said. “It was a great leap forward from where we were for the past few years. We played a lot better than we thought we would and took our opportunity to show our true potential this season. Together with Coach Dan Wood and the team, we set realistic but challenging goals and reached them, including capturing the E8 championship, which was the team’s mission from day one.”
The team will gear up for the spring season beginning in April with the Vassar College Invitational in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.