Golf, Sports

Women’s golf makes move to more competitive MAAC

The Boston University women’s golf team is positioned for a new era of competitiveness and success.

The team has upgraded this year to an associate member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, a Division-I conference that is more competitive in golf than America East. Last season, the Terriers finished second, and have enjoyed success for several seasons there.’ They won championships in the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Ana Johnson, a junior and one of three captains on the team, was one of four girls named to the America East Golf All-Academic Team last year.

Coached by Bruce Chalas, the second-year coach who brought with him over 10 years of coaching experience, the MAAC also gives the team aspirations to reach the NCAA Tournament, as the winner of the conference gets an automatic bid. Due to the conference transition, the team must wait two years to be eligible to enter the tournament. This hasn’t dampened the excitement, though.

‘The spirit on the team is high and the girls are working hard,’ Chalas said. ‘They are working to represent themselves and Boston University as well as they can.

‘This is the most competitive schedule in Boston University’s women’s golf team history. We play mostly medal play events of 36 or 54 holes, with a practice round the day before.’

Five players compete each day, with the best four scores of the five cumulated for the team score. The winner of the tournament will have the lowest cumulative team score. The tournaments are 15 to 16 teams deep of quality competition. Individual accolades can also be earned at the tournaments, including the NCAA Tournament. For example, senior co-captain Kaitlyn Mardeusz qualified for the 2009 United States Women’s Publinx Championship for the second year in a row. Chalas said all players on the team will play over half of the competitions.

Even with the improved competition in the new league, hopes are high for the team.

Goals for the season include ‘having fun, playing solid golf and focusing on winning the conference championship,’ Chalas said.’

‘I’m excited for the season. We have an interesting mix of players as we look to the three captains, [junior] Dana DeStefano, Ana Johnson, and Kaitlyn Mardeusz for leadership. I’m hopeful for [freshman] Kaitlin Garske, [sophomore] Jill Eelman and [sophomore] Courtney Dampolo and have been impressed so far. We are poised to make a run at the MAAC championship and eventually the NCAA Tournament.’

The team is currently composed of six girls, though Chalas is hoping to add at least one more. He’s looking for someone who can preferably score an 85 or below on a 6,000 yard course with tournament experience.’

Each girl on the squad has played for an average of eight years, with most picking up the game under their fathers’ influence.

As for what makes playing golf at BU enjoyable:

‘ ‘Getting to see all of the different courses,’ Mardeusz said. ‘I also enjoy the satisfaction of hitting good shots, which keeps me coming back.”

The girls will travel often up and down the East Coast, playing 10 tournaments for the year with five in the fall and five in the spring. The Terriers will fly to a few events for the year, and the events can be anywhere from the Rollins Invitational in Southern Pines, N.C., to the conference championship in April at Celebration, Fla.

‘ ‘We are looking forward to having a phenomenal season,’ DeStefano said.

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