The men’s and women’s golf teams have put in the time to prepare for the 2017-18 season, and they are mapping out the year with success and low scores at the heart of their plan.
The men’s team returns without any seniors lost to graduation from last year.
Despite their high level of experience in veteran players, some young players are dead-set on making a significant impact on the course of the year, as is evident in the team qualifier they held to determine the A and B teams.
Senior team captain Ryan Peruski (504) was among the three lowest qualifying scores, alongside seniors Austin Carter (498) and Mason Motte (503). Freshman Gunnar Stein had a great showing at the qualifier, shooting 508, just a few back from the leading seniors. Sophomore Jared Lyons qualified for the fifth spot, holding the same spot on the roster as last season.
The Cardinals have a great deal of depth on their roster this year, featuring several underclassmen with potential to make the top five roster.
“There’s probably eight or nine players that could potentially get into the rotation,” said Head Coach Joe Vogl. “So if somebody is in, they better play well, which now-a-days is 72, 73, or even better than that.”
The team had a decent finish last year, and as they haven’t lost any graduating seniors, their expectations for this year are only getting higher.
“These are our lowest qualifying scores ever, so I expect all the guys to play better this year,” Vogl said. “This is probably the strongest team we’ve had since I’ve been coaching.”
With a great deal of talent, the Cardinals have their eyes set to finish the season as GLIAC Champions and also as one of the top 10 teams in the Midwest Region.
The women’s team is preparing for its second year of its program, and is also returning all its players from last season. The squad picked up some key recruits over the summer who gave it their best to compete with the vets in their own qualifying match.
Sophomore Alexa Marston led the women’s qualifier with a total of 449 strokes across six rounds, 16 strokes ahead of the second place qualifier, sophomore Sabrina Coffman (465). Marston broke 80.
The women’s team has high hopes for the season and looks to finish well in its conference by the end of the spring session.
“If we can vie for one of the top three spots in our conference, that’d be a really good year,” Vogl said. “By the time some of the younger players become juniors, it’ll be a goal to be one of the top three teams in our region.”
To start off the fall session of their season, the men’s team played in its home invitational tournament at its home course, Saginaw Valley Public Golf Course.
After the first round, SVSU led the tournament, one stroke ahead of second place GVSU. Shooting 5-under 67, Peruski co-led the tournament individually, with Carter coming in at 3-under for a T-4 spot.
The second and final round, however, would not prove as prosperous for the Cards.
Peruski shot even-par 72 to finish at -5, seven shots behind the winning individual from Grand Valley. The Lakers also won the invitational, posting a total score of 560, a new tournament record.
“I think we were very unprepared mentally,” said Peruski. “We thought we were going to light up the course without putting in the effort just because it’s our home course. We know we could’ve played better, and I think that’ll light a fire under everyone to play better.”
The men’s next match is Saturday, Sept. 16 at the GLIAC North Invitational in South Haven, while the women’s team start off their season Friday, Sept. 15 at the Ferris State Invitational in Big Rapids.