Golf, Sports

Women’s golf trying to capture first MAAC title

In golf, it's a plus to be able to hit the ball 300 yards. But if the ball isn't hit straight, its distance means as much as the color of the tee that it's hit off.

As the Boston University women's golf team prepares for the first hole of the fall season, it will not have the longest drivers in the conference, but the team will instead feature accurate hitters off the tee.

"One of our strengths will be that we are a good driving team," said BU coach Bruce Chalas. "We are not a long-hitting team, but we hit the ball straight."

With Chalas leading the way in his third season at BU, the Terriers will have an experienced, knowledgeable leader who has had success in his own career, qualifying for 14 USGA Championships including the 1980 United States Open.

The team will be returning five players from last year's squad after losing only one to graduation.

Guidance will come from senior co-captains Dana DeStefano and Ana Johnson. According to Chalas, Johnson will be a player to watch as she finished tied for fifth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championships last April.

At the other end of the experience spectrum, freshman Christine Silen will look to carry over her success from high school to fill her role as the youngest and least experienced of the Terriers last season.

BU did not fare particularly well in their first season in the MAAC after battling through two key injuries in the spring and playing in a tougher conference than America East. This move was made primarily to provide the program with the chance at an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament that it did not have in the AE conference.

Chalas seems optimistic about the team's second season competing in the MAAC.

"We have had good practice sessions and the enthusiasm has been high so it should be interesting to see how we play next week at [the Dartmouth Invitational]," Chalas said.

Along with straight shooting, putting will also be a strength for the ladies this season. The green gave the Terriers trouble last year, so the team spent a vast amount of practice time improving their strokes at a variety of courses, including their home course at Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy.

The short game has improved, Chalas said.

For the Terriers, a group effort will be needed to reach the expectations that are set before them.

"The ability for each and every player to have good time management will be important for us," Chalas said. "This includes time taken from practices, traveling to tournaments and their school work. Also, the girls have to get a fair amount of sleep and of course, eat right."

This will be nothing new to DeStefano and Johnson as they were both named to the MAAC Academic Honor Roll last season. The awards will obviously be a plus for the captains individually, but more importantly, it will give them the power and experience to keep the rest of the team up to par.

Opening tee-off will take place at the Dartmouth Invitational in Hanover, N.H. on Sept. 18-19. This will be the first of five tournaments that the Terriers will compete in before the fall season comes to a close in the end of October.Conference play will resume in March with four more invitationals leading up to the MAAC Championships in late April.

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