In the interest of full disclosure, I suppose I am glad to get a quicker set of teams to review and preview, as packing to move at the end of August is already in full swing...get it? Golf...full swing? Eh....I've been packing the last six hours...sue me.
Anyway, let's get to the gettin', as we make the final turn and start down the home stretch of the 2008-2009 season. This week, we take a look at the links, reviewin' and previewin' the Mizzou Golf Teams. Can't say it was the most successful of seasons for either programs, but the off-season has already given fans something to look forward to next season. How much can we look forward to exactly? Let's see...but first, a little something about golf.
Golf is contested over three rounds, with six golfers competing at a time. The high round for the day is dropped and the low five scores make up the team score. Golf is contested a bit in the fall, and then picked up again in February, and somehow is really considered a spring sport through all of that.
Women's Golf - The 2008-2009 Season
Final Conference Standing: tied for 11th
Seniors Lost: 1 (of 14)
"Starters" Lost: 1 (Chelsea Schreiwer - competed in 10 of 12 tournamants)
2010 Roster Breakdown by Year: 3 seniors, 5 juniors (one JUCO transfer), 2 sophomores, 3 freshmen
Looking back to 2007-2008, the team had a very solid year with a pretty young group. They took home fourth at the Big XII Championships, and moved on to the Regionals where their season would end. They were bringing a lot back to the table this past season, but finishing tied for 11th had to be seen as a disappointment, especially as it led to them being left out of the NCAA's for the first time in six seasons Where did it all go wrong?
Reviewing and comparing the 2007-2008 stats to the 2008-2009 stats seems to not prove much of anything. Future senior Julia Potter (more on her in a bit) improved by almost a stroke and a half per round, and departing senior Chelsea Schreiwer, now two-time Missouri State Amateur Champion) improved by almost two shots a round. The Tigers did lose Maddie Augustsson, but everyone else coming back either toed the line or improved. All I can say about that is, oh well and go figure. Secondly, the team shot a 959 in 07-08 to finish 4th, and a 957 this past year to tie for 11th. Weird...
At any rate, Ms. Potter had a very solid season and continues to add to her growing list of accolades:
- Made it to the 2nd round of the US Amateur Championship just a couple of weeks ago (after a solid run last year
- Runner-up in the Indiana State Amateur Championship (after winning the past two)
- A great finish at the NCAA Regionals in 2008 at 10th (she was 25th this past season)
- Tons of different awards won last season and this season (All-Big XII in both seasons, WIN Collegiate Sportswoman of the Year , Indiana Golfer of the Year)
The lone departing senior will be Schreiwer, who certainly improved over time to become of the leaders for the Tigers. Her swing average was second on the squad and it will be important for someone to step up and take those shots off their average. Just who can be expected to do that?
Looking Ahead - The 2009-2010 Season
Let's start at the top with the obvious. As a senior, Potter should certainly be expected to lead the Tigers once again, especially as she stands to leave the school as one of (if not THE) most decoated athletes in the program's history. Another improvement like she experienced this past year will put her very close to being a par-golfer, and that would make her certainly one of the best in conference again. There are two likely candidates to help replace Schreiwer, as fellow senior Michelle Morgan (who also placed well with Potter at the Indiana Amateur) and future sophomore Hannah Lovelock were both very close to one another in stroke average. If either of them can make the improvement Schreiwer did this past season, her scoring average will be replaced.
That makes a solid top half, but what about the other half? Look for future junior Lindsay Haupt and future sophomore Marissa Cook to make a play at being season-long starters. Both saw a good deal of action in the spring (with a couple more tournaments for Cook than Haupt), and both played in the Big XII Championships (over Lovelock, which was perhaps an interesting selection). Future junior Madison Marcolla played a good bit back in 07-08, but only saw fall action last season. The three others who saw minimal time on the links last season were future sophomore Jacque Bardgett and future juniors Kelsey Meyer and Lindsay Burray.
I am not entirely sure how this worked, but the Tigers have just one golfer departing, but FOUR coming on to the squad. That group is led by JUCO transfer Nicola Race, who this summer was named NJCAA Student-Athlete of the Year. Race (who like Lovelock is from England) was a two-time National Champion and All-American. If she is as good as her credentials, she could certainly make an instant and large impact on the squad next year. Her stroke average last year would be already second on the team this coming season (behind Potter). Joining her will be three freshmen from all over the country and world. The first, from British Columbia, Canada will be Ahnna Kim, who has some solid experience in the U.S. and World Junior Girls Championships. The next, from Laguna Beach, CA will be Natasha Darras. Rounding out the group, from Tennessee will be Becca Godman, who had some fantastic finishes in their state and regional tournament in 2008.
Maybe it was just an up year for the conference and a slightly down one for the Tigers. Clearly, there is still a lot of talent on this squad, and the infusion of Race is a great move by the coaching staff to try to take advantage of the senior talent on the team. I would expect the Tigers to improve from their 11th place finish (since, let's face it, they cannot get much worse) and get back to the NCAA's to send Potter out on a good note and start contributing again to the Learfield Cup Totals (as the 30 points we got back in 07-08 would have pushed us to 33rd from 38th this past season). Strangely enough, they may be one of the few Mizzou teams which is geared up for a solid 2010 and not waiting until 2011 :-)
Men's Golf - The 2008-2009 Season
Before we start with the men's team, a note. Their roster is ALL sorts of messed up. So, bear with me as I do my best to figure this out, and my advance apologies if one of you is nerd enough to correct me :-)
Final Conference Standing: 9th
Seniors Lost: 2 (of maybe 10 or so)
"Starters" Lost: 2 (Peter Malnati - Competed in 12 of 12 tournaments, Ryne Fisher - Competed in 10 of 12 tournaments)
2010 Roster Breakdown by Year: 0 seniors, 3 juniors, 3 sophomores, 4 freshmen (I dont know if Tucker Harper will be back, who was a frosh this past year but did not start)
The Tigers did improve from their last place finish back in the spring of '08, but the improvement was just marginal. Leading it was certainly departing senior Peter Malnati. He did some tremendous things for the squad this past season, qualifying for the NCAA's with a team-best stroke average of 73. He had five straight top-ten finishes this past fall, and completed his collegiate playing career with a 24th place finish at the NCAA regionals. Off of the course, Malnati was honored as an Academic All-District and Academic All-American, both high honors to be proud of.. Also departing will be Ryne Fisher, who ended up with the third lowest stroke average (74.65) and a top-ten fall finish to his credit.
Looking Ahead - The 2009-2010 Season
So what do the Tigers have coming back? Well, they have some decent talent and depth, but will certainly need a good amount of it to get going in a hurry. Future junior Will Harrold probably was the most impressive at the end of the year, as he had the low score for the Tigers at the Big XII's. He made eleven starts on the season and certainly was able to bring his stroke average of 75 (4th best) down throughout the season. Always nice in some respects to have someone come from the back of the pack to lead the team at the end of a season. Checking in at #2 on the stroke average list (found here) was fellow future junior Will Hogan. He, along with classmate Tyler Hillis (8 starts at just over 77 per round) form the "old men" of the squad and certainly do have some talent and experience.
Coming down the depth and age chart, there are two future sophomores who should play a large role in the coming seasons. First is Chris Johnson, who came on well towards the end of the year, and ended up getting the start in the Big XII's (only his 4th on the season). If he can make a solid dent in his 78 average, he should see a number of starts this coming year. The other is Jace Long. Much was written about Long (by me) both last year at this time and then just a couple of weeks ago as Long made a very solid run in the US Amatuer Match Play Championships (found here). His 2008 season was just that, relegated only to the fall of 2008 (with no action for the spring of 2009). Long will have to feed off of his solid summer and become one of the mainstays on this squad.
So, there are five folks coming back with either decent experience or potential. Who else might find their way on to the course during the year? This is where the goofy roster hurts me. RS Frosh to be Brad Moody could potentially see some time, as could Tucker Harper (if he is in fact returning). The roster also has sophomore Adam Rosenthal along with freshmen Stuart Ballingall (from England) and Michael Garden. The squad announced the signing of just one freshman this past year, a young man by the name of Will Nixon from Jefferson City, MO. Nixon was a solid competitor this past season as a high school senior and was considered one of the top talents from Missouri. And yes, he is the son of Governor Jay Nixon.
It is going to be a young squad, there is no doubt about it. However, if Johnson can continue the upswing he showed at the end of the year, one which was significant enough to land him in the Big XII's, that could be a nice step. If Jace Long can continue his own development, that too would be a nice step and a key to this coming year. With the 3-H's returning as juniors, there is a good foundation. The Tigers will still need another golfer or two to step up as depth, but I believe the Tigers will be finish up around where they did this past season, while they hopefully gear up for what could be a pretty sucessful (you guessed it) 2011.
- Not sure why, but soccer is going to get the first few bullets today
- First, I happened to catch just the first moments of a MLS game between Seattle (who I did not even know had a team) and Chicago. Seems the Sounders are new, and averaging just about THIRTY thousand people per game. The atmosphere seemed VERY festive there, so good for them.
- The MLS has been around since 1996, and is adding quality teams each year. Next year, Philly will get a team, with Portland and Vancouver on the way in 2011 to being the total to 18 squads. Many of them are getting their own, soccer-specific stadium where the crowd will be much more intimate than in the big football stadiums
- That being said...St. Louis...what the hell? Get your sh!t together already, lest you will be left out of the party.
- On the US front, I did end up watching (for no good reason mind you) much of the Gold Cup Tournament, which the US appeared to have played with a mostly "B" (and sometimes "C") squad. Their final CRUSHING at the hands of Mexico not-withstanding, I thought there were some impressive performances, and I like what Stuart Holden has to offer down the road.
- The calendar turns to AUGUST at the end of this week, meaning I can finally start to focus on football...
- ...since I do NOT want to focus on the injuries and play still wracking my favorite east-coast ballclub.
- Nice to see Carl Edwards win on Saturday night, as I literally hit the channel in time for the last lap
- Typing "Chris Johnson" into the auto tag landed me TWELVE young men by the same name who play D-1 football. HALF of them are WR (just FYI)