In the first occasion where all three teams competed together, Warsaw held its ground with a 176 to easily get past Plymouth’s 195 and Wawasee’s 198 in the Northern Lakes Conference trio at Stonehenge. With the stakes much higher in two weeks when all three teams will reconvene on Sept. 8 at Bent Oak for the NLC tournament, Tuesday became a good primer for what might be to come.
“We are going to have to beat one of these teams if we want to get anywhere in the tournament,” began Wawasee head coach Steve Coverstone. “If we want to get out of here in September, we really have to clean some things up and figure out a way to beat Plymouth and maybe also Warsaw.”
The increasing stakes will be much greater at the Warsaw Sectional on Sept. 15, where Stonehenge will serve as the backdrop for what could be a very exciting tournament field. If Tuesday’s play was any indication, the three teams could have a lot of say in what happens from here on out.
“This has really turned into quite a little rivalry, the three of these teams,” said Plymouth coach Bruce Rearick. “We will do as well as we can, and we played pretty consistent tonight, but if we can find our way around this course in a couple weeks and not let our nerves get the best of us, we could do very well.”The field had to stand in awe at the one-over par round turned in by Warsaw’s No. 3 golfer, Elizabeth Meadows. With the exception of a mere bogey on the seventh hole, Meadows played the course as it should be worked. Consistently, constructively and calculated.
“”We have been struggling a little bit lately, but we had some good course management, especially from Elizabeth,” said Warsaw head coach Chris LaLonde. “We have just been trying to get consistent, this has been a very fast season. We are hoping to have things ready to go when we play Bent Oak for the NLC. Elizabeth really showed that consistency we want.”
The consistency of the remainder of the Warsaw roster made Meadow’s score stand up even better. A 45 from Nikki LaLonde, who drained a 50-foot birdie putt on nine, was a late booster. A 47 from Morgan Sands and 48 from Alexis Manwaring were all what LaLonde had hoped to see heading into the September slate. For what its worth, a win by Warsaw on Thursday at Elkhart Memorial will keep Warsaw in the hunt for a share of the NLC regular season championship. NorthWood is 5-0 in the NLC, with Wawasee and Northridge waiting Thursday.
“We definitely have that target on our backs,” LaLonde said, whose team moves to 9-1 overall and 5-1 in the NLC. “With the girls, a lot of different players can come out and really play well. We are hoping our girls can do that at Bent Oak, and again at the sectional. But we know there are a lot of good golfers in the conference, so we’ll have to play a lot better than we have been.”
Wawasee (8-3, 3-2 NLC) had a 44 from Elizabeth Jackson and 45 from Mikala Mawhorter golfing in the top two slots, and a 52 from Alex Goralczyk kept Wawasee alive for a chance to at least earn a split if it catch Plymouth. A 17 on the final two holes by Kylee Rostochak, who finished with a 57, wasn’t the sole reason for the two losses Tuesday night, but one of the teaching points Coverstone will take into the final quarter of the season heading into tournament play.
“We have to keep working to get better,” Coverstone said. “Right now to get out of the sectional, we know that Rochester, Plymouth, Warsaw and Culver Academy will all be tough. We know we have to beat at least two of them if we want to play in the regional, and we saw two of them tonight. We just have to manage this course a little better, stay out of trouble and definitely putt a lot better. But I’m encouraged with what I saw tonight.”
Plymouth (2-3, 2-3 NLC) were led by a 46 from Emily Denney and two 49s from Emily Berger and Morgan Oberley. Lauren Rearick’s 51 was the final keeper score for the Lady Pilgrims.
All three teams will not meet one another until the NLC, then will not see each other until the morning of the sectional. Warsaw has now seen Plymouth three times – at the Western Invite, the Plymouth Invite, and Tuesday – while having seen Wawasee just once before tonight at the Fremont Invite. The Lady Warriors and Lady Pilgrims were on the same card at the Rochester Invite.
Alexis Manwaring 48
Nikki LaLonde 45
Elizabeth Meadows 36
Morgan Sands 47
Ashley Murrell 63
Emily Berger 49
Emily Denney 46
Morgan Oberley 49
Kelly Henderson 52
Lauren Rearick 51
Elizabeth Jackson 44
Mikala Mawhorter 45
Kylee Rostochak 57
Alex Goralczyk 52
Courtney McDaniel 58