A successful season is usually, and sometimes unfortunately, defined by the way it ends. The men’s golf team is looking to finish the season strong after a disappointing finish in the MIAC Championship and make the national tournament.
“Our team did not play up to our potential this weekend, and we were very disappointed with the result,” last year’s individual champion Andrew Whitchurch said.
The team finsished tied for 6th place overall. Whitchurch finished in 30th. Prior to the MIAC, the team had shown that they were capable of putting up good numbers.
“So far this season we’ve been really consistent,” Whitchurch said before the tournament. “We’ve been placing towards the top in all our tournaments,” he said, “but we’re still waiting to put together a tournament where we say, ‘Wow we played as good as we can play, we played really well.’ So we’re still waiting for that stellar performance; we haven’t quite had that yet.”
Senior Patrick Deitz, who entered the championship second in the conference in scoring average, was positive looking ahead to the rest of the season.
“I think that we haven’t played great as a team, but I do think that we have gotten better every week and every tournament throughout the season,” he said.
That’s not to say the men haven’t played extremely well this season. The team had won their last two invites and hadn’t finished outside the top four in any meet this year, though that sort of stellar play is what’s expected when the bar is set so high.
“It was a very disappointing tournament for us,” Deitz said of his 10th place finish in the MIAC. “I played average at best. I went in trying to win and came up short, so I’m disappointed.” Coach Duane Siverson shared the raised expectations ahead of the MIAC.
“We want to and can finish in the first or second spot this weekend,” Siverson said. “The boys just have to go out and perform.”
Even with the higher standards of play and obvious frustration at the finish in the MIAC, there is a definite team-first approach apparent within the team.
“I mean our goal is to do whatever we need to do to help the team be successful,” Whitchurch said. “You know being the lowest score on the team or being the fourth or fifth guy, just playing as a team. Golf is individual sport but we’re playing for one another out there, and we are just trying to shoot the best team score we can. “
Coach Siverson thinks the environment within the team has been very helpful all season.
“This is the closest group I’ve had in my three years coaching the men,” Siverson said. “They all pull for one another but at the same time are very competitive, and that pushes everyone to be better.”
As for the rest of the year, there are things the team can improve on to maintain their high level of play.
“I think we just need to be a little more focused on ourselves and make sure we limit our mistakes when we are playing,” Deitz said. “Everyone on the team could play a bit smarter, and I think if we can do that, then everyone will cut down one or two shots from their score, which would make a huge difference for the team score.”
The team seems fully capable of doing that based on their body of work this season, and the group as whole is unified.
“Every practice and every meet has been very good this season,” Siverson said. The guys are competing at every spot, and we haven’t always had that. ”
All signs point to the work still paying off, and the team still has a chance to turn things around.
“One of our goals was to get better every day, and we have put in the time and effort to do so,” Dietz said.
Whitchurch wants the team to still perform at a high level to still make nationals
“As we close the season, we need to post some good numbers at our final tournament and beat some of the nationally ranked teams that will be there,” Whitchurch said.